GROWING BOLDER WITH
‘LITTLE ANTHONY’ GOURDINE
“When I was young, my life was a mess. A lot of my peers aren’t here anymore, and I struggled to overcome drugs and depression. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll nearly took my life. But I’m here today, still performing and, amazingly, still hitting the same high notes I hit at 17 years old. It’s all by the grace of God. I have no other explanation for it. It’s not natural; it’s supernatural. You can believe that or not — that’s your decision. But to me, there’s no question that there’s a God. He’s the only thing that kept me alive when I should have been dead 100 times over. I have a destiny. I’m not just floundering through life. There’s a plan, and I see it.”
Little Anthony and his group The Imperials burst onto the scene in 1958 with their million-selling hit, Tears on My Pillow, and followed up with such hits as Going Out of My Head, Hurts So Bad and Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop. Today, the band still tours and Anthony performs in theatrical productions, including a one-man show. He candidly discusses his life in his book, Little Anthony: My Journey, My Destiny.
“I try to embrace everything I do with as much love, humanity and compassion as I can. I had a very tough childhood with my father, and I talk openly about it because I want others to know that they’re not alone. When you feel less alone, you have a better chance of surviving. In so much of my work, I feel like I’m reaching out a hand to help people. In my family, I played the peacemaker. And even today, I feel like I have a responsibility to help other people. All the worrying in the world won’t prolong your life one bit, so I try to tell people that everything will be OK. Sometimes you just need to take that one step to get out of the situation you’re in.”
Louie Anderson’s work has earned the love and admiration of millions of fans. He has garnered three Emmys, and has been named one of the 100 Greatest Standup Comedians of All Time by Comedy Central. He’s currently starring in the critically acclaimed hit FX series Baskets, playing Christine, the matriarch of a family that includes twins, both played by Zach Galifanakis.
“I was a caregiver to both of my parents and my late husband. I took what I learned through my experiences — including my many, many mistakes — and vowed to help other caregivers. One of my passions is urging caregivers to take time for themselves, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. You can take five minutes daily to reflect, do a breathing exercise or listen to music. It’s also so important to learn to ask for help. Start by asking one trusted person to do one thing, like bringing dinner on a specified night. Once you see help is available, you’ll be better prepared to ask for more help. The goal is to find a circle of caregiver ambassadors. They’re your own people, ready to put their arms around you and help you in specific ways.”
Margery Pabst-Steinmetz is the creator of mycaregivingcoach.com, a website dedicated to caregiver wellbeing. She is the author of four books and the creator and host of two radio shows, Caregiver and Physician Conversations, and Caregivers Speak. In addition, she’s the past chair of the board of the National Center for Creative Aging and founder and president of the Pabst Charitable Foundation for the Arts.
GB EXTRA Visit GrowingBolderMagazine.com to listen to our Growing Bolder Radio conversations with Little Anthony Gourdine, Louie Anderson and Margery Pabst-Steinmetz.
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