“AND YET, FOR EVERYTHING THAT’S HAPPENED TO HIM AND AROUND HIM, ALEC BALDWIN SHOWS NOT
THE PITTED SURFACE OF A BATTERED SURVIVOR BUT THE SMOOTH FINISH OF A BELOVED ENTERTAINER.”
So wrote James Wolcott in the March 2010 issue of Vanity Fair. And although I had originally envisioned a smoother, less pitted career path, I’ll take his words and say thank you.
It has been an alternately thrilling and challenging ride for me in my chosen field. Growing up in the 1960′s on Long Island with my father (a school teacher) my mother (a housewife) and my two sisters and three brothers, I wasn’t at all prepared for what might happen or how to handle it once I left George Washington University to attend the undergrad drama program at NYU.
Once in New York, acting, and all of its rites of passage, slowly began to envelop me. I got a job on a soap opera, The Doctors, at 30 Rock, the fabled NBC headquarters. Although I had been to acting school, moonlighted in showcase theatre and student films and was working in daytime TV, I still had no idea what I was doing.
I went to LA, to work in prime time TV. I did Knots Landing and got my first taste of what it was like to actually reach a large audience. I started appearing in smaller roles in films. I auditioned for top directors. I boarded an airplane one day and everyone in the cabin seemed to be reading The Cardinal of the Kremlin or Red Storm Rising or The Hunt for Red October. Within months of that plane ride, I was cast as Jack Ryan, the protagonist in Clancy’s great novels.
I made more movies. I made bad movies. A couple of good ones. I got married. I became a father. I rushed back to New York, whenever possible, to perform on stage. Prelude to a Kiss, A Streetcar Named Desire, Macbeth, Gross Points at Bay Street in Sag Harbor, The Twentieth Century, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Equus, Orphans, All My Sons.
The night Streetcar closed, I wept, knowing I would likely never say Williams’ great words on stage again. All of my fondest memories, without question, have been in the theatre.
Old habits die hard, so I got political. I studied campaign finance issues with think-tankers at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice. I studied faulty nuclear reactor designs and the unavoidable threats posed by aging facilities like Oyster Creek in New Jersey and Millstone in Connecticut. I joined The Creative Coalition and worked with the brilliant Ron Silver and the much admired Chris Reeve. Both, unbelievably, gone now. I met and befriended and campaigned for some of my political idols. Bill Clinton, Paul Wellstone, Ted Kennedy. I’ve watched with bemusement, pride and terror as the US has gone from Clinton to Bush to Obama to Trump. Along the way, I’ve prayed that the country is strong enough to survive its own government.
I went back to NYU in 1994 and graduated with my class at the Tisch school, fourteen years after I’d left. In 2010, I got an honorary doctorate from NYU and addressed the commencement at Yankee stadium. I was nominated for an Oscar. I hosted the Oscars (with Steve Martin). I wrote three books, one about divorce (A Promise to Ourselves) , I wrote a memoir (Nevertheless) and, with Kurt Andersen, a Trump parody memoir (You Can’t Spell America Without Me.) I became the announcer of the New York Philharmonic (my favorite gig) In the ultimate expression of my limitless Beatle fandom, I was given the chance to present the Kennedy Center Honor…..to Paul McCartney.
I met Lorne Michaels, who became perhaps the most important producer in my career. He suggested that I do a TV series with Tina Fey. They both changed my life. I’ll never have a better time in my career than 30 Rock.
I have tried to balance the commercial and the creative to the best of my ability. A career as an actor is, in the end, all about what’s next. Very few, like Cruise or Hanks or Jerry Seinfeld or Julia Roberts, are able to build up an amount of creative equity that endures throughout a lifetime. However, I’ve spent the last thirty odd years enjoying the company of some of the industry’s most gifted performers, directors, designers, writers, cinematographers and technicians and it has been an honor to know them and to work with them. Anthony Hopkins. Meryl Streep. Joe Maher. Laurie Metcalfe. Chris Plummer. Robert Richardson. Pacino. DeNiro. Woody Allen. Michael Ballhaus. Sean Connery. Cate Blanchett. Juan Ruiz Anchia. Bill Macy. Edward Norton. Cynthia Nixon. Jessica Lange and Amy Madigan. John Toll. Jennifer Jason Leigh. Don McAlpine. Mary Louise Parker. Scorsese. It has been amazing.
I got married again. To one who is kind and caring, healthy and giving. Someone I love with all my heart, who I don’t really deserve and with whom I’ve had four children. That total now is five. Ireland, Carmen, Rafael, Leonardo
Romeo. Just the thought takes my breath away. I am beyond lucky to have met Hilaria.
I am hosting a game show. A talk show. Shooting film and tv projects here and there. Mostly home with Hilaria and the kids. I
have reworked this website to better update you about what I am up to, what I want to share with you in culture and media and to hear from you, as well.
Thanks to everyone at Pumpkinhed for helping me get there.