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very good mood today and I’m not taking the brunt of his wrath; what’s your name?” The guard started stammering. “Um, um, you go on in. And say hi to your Dad.” I smiled ear to ear. “Will do! Thank you!” I walked on the lot, swinging my briefcase, acting like I owned the place. From then on that guard thought I was Eisner’s son, and every time I saw him I told him how much my “Dad” liked him. I can only imagine that every time Eisner went through those gates the guard thought he was on the president’s good list. A couple of years later I was working on Players, a Paramount fi lm for Robert Evans and Anthony Harvey (the director of The Lion in Winter), and Eisner visited our set in Cuernavaca, Mexico. As I shook his hand I asked if he knew the story. He said he did and praised me for my unconventional methods of getting on the lot. Thank goodness he thought it was funny. Little did I know that ten years later I would fi lm one of the biggest hits he ever had at Disney, Three Men and a Baby.

For the rest of my two weeks, I got up and had my “jobs.” One was calling the agents twice a day to ask if there was anything in commercials coming up for me. The other was making my way over to the Melrose gate of Paramount, punching in, and wandering around the lot. One of my first memories of my Paramount exploration is visiting the Happy Days set. And when I say “visit,” I use the word loosely. “Sneak on” is a better description. I remember standing behind the director’s chair, hearing Garry Marshall, the creator of the series, shouting out orders in a strong Bronx accent. I thought to myself that his was probably the model voice for Fonzie. Seconds later, in walked Henry Winkler. He hugged Garry and said without a trace of an accent, “I’m doing Shakespeare next week and my throat is getting sore!” The Fonz doing Shakespeare? I thought. And where is the tough accent? Henry is a Yale graduate, a classically trained actor, who can do anything that is put in front of him. But at that moment all I saw was The Fonz, and he had someone else’s voice. I spent all my time on the lot and before I knew it my time was up and I was supposed to go home. But I had caught the acting bug. The night before I had to leave I asked Michael, “If it’s all right with you can I stay a little longer?” “Of course it is, I’m proud of what you’ve done so far. You’ve got balls, kid.” The next hurdle was to ask my Mother and Father if I could stay. I knew

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3/20/12 10:39 AM

The Guttenberg Bible by Steve Guttenberg  

The hilarious, insightful memoir of the highs and lows of Hollywood by the actor who starred in multiple iconic blockbusters: Diner, Police...