On The Couch
The most refreshingly candid celebrity memoir in years, from an actress who has always lived life on her own terms.
Known to millions as psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi on HBO's hit series The Sopranos, a role for which she has received multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild nominations, Lorraine Bracco is one of the most recognizable actresses working today. A glamorous and intelligent presence on both the big and small screen, as well as on the Broadway stage, it's hard to imagine that this formidable woman was once voted the "ugliest girl in the sixth grade." But with guts, determination, and a very good sense of humor, Lorraine Bracco triumphed - and did it her way.
Born in Brooklyn to an Italian-American father and a British mother, Bracco survived her ugly-duckling childhood to become a Wilhelmina model in Paris. On the Couch traces her rise from fledgling actress to star and wife of acting heavyweight Harvey Keitel; her film roles, including her Academy Award-nominated performance in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas; the very public custody battle following her divorce from Keitel; and her glorious return on the series that proved, once and for all, that even mobsters get the blues.
In this engaging memoir, Lorraine opens up about her career, her marriages, her determination to be a good mother, and her refusal to be marginalized as an actress and a woman in a society obsessed with youth and beauty. She is also startlingly honest about her victory over depression, her willingness to seek treatment, and how she found her way again. And when she was cast on The Sopranos, yet another incredible new chapter began. Forthright, funny, and, at fifty, a woman of both uncommon beauty and intelligence, Lorraine Bracco knows what she wants out of life. In a conversational memoir as frank and candid as a heart-to-heart with an old friend, Lorraine Bracco's On the Couch delivers with all the force of this amazing woman's marvelous personality.
About the Author
Lorraine Bracco was born in Brooklyn. Since making her American feature film debut in Ridley Scott's 1987 thriller Someone to Watch Over Me, she has appeared in countless films, on television, and on Broadway, most recently as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. She serves on the board of directors of the environmental group Riverkeeper, was recently named "Woman of the Year" by the New York City Police Athletic League, and is launching her own line of wines.
Offers We Can't Refuse
by Sara Nelson -- 5/16/2005 -- PublishersWeekly Online Article
A couple of weeks ago, a PW staffer returned to the office and announced a pretty good celebrity sighting. He'd seen Lorraine Bracco (a/k/a Dr. Jennifer Melfi, shrink and sometime love interest of Tony Soprano on HBO's The Sopranos) walking into 375 Hudson, the building mostly occupied by the Penguin Group (USA). "Something's up," he said. Maybe, he suggested, the good doctor was peddling a book.
We ignored him. There are lots of reasons Bracco could have been going into that building, we said. Don't be so naďve.
Last week, Putnam—a division of the Penguin Group (USA)—announced that it had signed Bracco to a book deal. She'll publish On the Couch, a "stirring memoir," full of "candid reflections about her life, her career and overcoming personal struggle" in spring 2006.
But it's not only the staffer's sighting that should have tipped us off. There's also the re-emergence of The Sopranos, scheduled for a sixth season on HBO in 2006; and then there are those PSAs that Bracco has been doing about overcoming depression. Most telling of all, though, has been the proliferation, in the past months, of books by and about celebrities. There's Jane Fonda's My Life So Far, selling big for Random House. Earlier this month, Putnam released Goldie Hawn's A Lotus Grows in the Mud, which lands on PW's bestseller list this week. Brooke Shields's Down Came the Rain is just out and selling from Hyperion. Even tony Knopf has been getting in on the act: its Sinatra: The Life, yet another "analysis" of the life of Frank Sinatra, is due on shelves next week.
Publishers pinning their hopes on the public's appetite for books by and about the famous is nothing new. The past decades yield dozens of such titles, from Paul Reiser's Couplehood to Michael J. Fox's Lucky Man. Many of those books were very successful. But it has been a long time since so many titles by so many stars have been crowded at the top of bestseller lists.
So it follows that Putnam would sign up Bracco, who is, by all accounts, a cultivated, smart and interesting woman. Whether it will matter that she is not a star on quite the level of a Fonda or a Hawn remains to be seen. Bracco says in the Putnam press release that she's "not afraid to go deep, to be introspective, revealing and honest."
But the real question is, will enough people care about a cable TV star's life to justify what surely was a substantial advance? Random House discovered the answer the hard way, last year, with the publication of Skywriting by Jane Pauley. In that book, the beloved TV personality—another cultivated, smart and interesting woman—revealed her secret battle with bipolar disease; the book fell short of expectations.
Then, too, there's the question of backlistability, which celebrity autobios rarely have. With this kind of book, the first few months are the thing; like the TV shows and movies the authors come from, if they don't open well, they end up virtually invisible within months. And even if they do succeed at first, the paperbacks usually have short shelf lives.
Still, publishing hasn't completely gone over the edge celebrity-wise, at least not yet. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Corey Clark, the American Idol contestant who claims he had a special relationship with judge Paula Abdul, has indeed written and published a book, but it's a downloadable e-book available only through his Web site. Maybe his is one story publishers can refuse. As for On the Couch, let's hope Tony don't find out Melfi's writin' a book.
NEW YORK, May 11 / PR Newswire / -- Lorraine Bracco, the acclaimed Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominated actress known to millions worldwide as psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi on the hit HBO series, "The Sopranos," is writing her first book, ON THE COUCH, which will be published in hardcover by G.P. Putnam's Sons in Spring 2006. A paperback edition will be published by Berkley in 2007. Ivan Held, President, G.P. Putnam's Sons, acquired North American, audio, serial and translation rights to the title from literary agent Jeanne Forte Dube of Forte Associates. Christine Pepe, Vice President, Executive Editor, G.P. Putnam's Sons, will edit the book, which will candidly explore all aspects of Ms. Bracco's career and life.
Ms. Bracco says,
"ON THE COUCH is about telling the truth -- about being straight with
ourselves. Reflecting on my life as I turned fifty, I thought, 'If
Dr. Melfi had Lorraine Bracco on the couch, what would that look like?'
This was the origin of the book idea. Now I'm ready to open up.
personal memoir will trace Ms. Bracco's rise from her childhood in
Brooklyn, where she was named "ugliest girl in the sixth grade," to her
ten-year stay in Paris as a fashion model and fledgling actress. She
will talk about what she did and didn't learn in her marriages and
ON THE COUCH
will also reveal the Lorraine Bracco that few people know: the woman
who speaks fluent French, testifies before Congress, speaks at the
American Psychoanalytic Association, lectures on child custody laws at an
Ivy League law school, serves on the Board of Directors of Riverkeeper, an
environmental group founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and is an avid
comments, "Having been a fan and admirer of Lorraine Bracco for many
years, it is a genuine honor and privilege to be publishing her book. The
very personal stories she tells are by turns entertaining, transformative
and inspiring. They will strike chords with readers on every page."
Ms. Bracco was
born in Brooklyn to an Italian-American father and an English mother.
She began modeling in high school and became a Paris fashion model
represented by the Wilhelmina Agency. She spent ten years in Paris,
where she became fluent in French and worked as a disc jockey for Radio
Luxembourg and as a producer for Les Enfants Du Rock for French TV.
She also began to act in films, appearing in several French comedies and
working with Italian film director Lina Wertmuller. Returning to the
US, she studied at Stella Adler and the Actors Studio in New York City.
TV Now Online
Lorraine Bracco: Millions of Sopranos fans know the actress as the shrink who tries to make Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) mend his evil ways. Fortunately for HBO executives, she has failed in those efforts so far and fans who like mob action still care about his criminal enterprise. G.P. Putnam's Sons announced this week that her book, "On the Couch," should be ready in hardback form by next Spring. A paperback edition will be published by Berkley in 2007. Bracco told reporters, "Reflecting on my life as I turned fifty, I thought, if Dr. Melfi had Lorraine Bracco on the couch, what would that look like?" She added, "Playing Dr. Melfi has given me a platform, and I'm very pleased that Putnam will help me use it for the creation of this book." For a woman who was once named "ugliest girl in the sixth grade," Bracco has come a long way. Her fans can count on the book to tell them how her journey has gone so far.
Therapeutic Effect? Sopranos Star Is Big Putnam Buy
by Staff, Publishers Weekly Daily -- 5/11/2005
Putnam is continuing its potential pattern of commercial non-fiction. After the publication of Goldie Hawn's memoir, the house has announced the acquisition of Sopranos star Lorraine Bracco's book, a memoir called On the Couch that will explore her depression and the "hard truths and insights she gained from that struggle." New Putnam president Ivan Held is acquirer; Chris Pepe will edit.
Gossip Column -- May 9, 2005
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