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Candice Bergen’s bestselling 1984 memoir: an “engaging, intelligent, and wittily self-deprecating autobiography” (The New York Times).
Candice Bergen was born into the heady Hollywood of the 1950s, where “celebrity offspring” were celebrities unto themselves. And because she was the daughter of Edgar Bergen, vaudeville and radio’s greatest dignitary/comedian, her “sibling” was Charlie McCarthy, the impudent dummy beloved of millions. Bergen—much as he loved his daughter—was a man who “kept his emotions pressed and neatly hung,” and was more comfortable speaking to—and through—his brainchild who never had to grow up and leave the paradise that was childhood.
Knock Wood is a book all about growing up—about the comedy of expectations that ruled Candice Bergen’s early life, about the ironies that attended her exotic rites of passage. She stepped out into a world that offered her a wealth of options: adolescence in Swiss boarding schools; at nineteen, costarring opposite Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles; quick entry into the profession of photojournalism; automatic acceptance among the esteemed company of the moment—be it the international jet set, Bel Air in the 1960s, or the world that was radical politics in the 1970s. But always she carried the conviction that her gifts were untested, her luck unearned.
Told with wit, self-deprecation, and a rare degree of courage, Knock Wood is the extraordinary record of Candice Bergen’s coming of age. It is at once the moving fable of the love between a father and a daughter, of a woman’s triumph over self-doubt, and a dazzling journal of America’s life and times over the past four decades.
About the Author
Candice Bergen’s film credits include The Sand Pebbles, Carnal Knowledge, Starting Over (for which she received an Oscar nomination), and Miss Congeniality. On television, she made headlines as the tough-talking broadcast journalist and star of Murphy Brown, for which she won five Emmys and two Golden Globes. She later starred with James Spader and William Shatner in the critically acclaimed series Boston Legal.
blind date was that he wore Italian loafers. Terry was twenty, had quit college, and now had a job at Columbia Records, where his mother was under contract. His resemblance to her was striking: he was tall, blond, blue-eyed and freckled, with a great infectious grin. I liked him at once: he was special, someone whose luck would never run out. There was a touch of Tom Sawyer about him in spirit as well as in looks—a taste for tricks and trouble, an instinct for truth. He was funny and furtive,
modeling money, I took a lease on a New York apartment and began spending more time there and less in Philadelphia. The laxness of my attitude did not go unnoticed by the faculty. One day the dean of women called me to her office to comment on my increasing absences and to caution me about my future. When she asked, “Tell me, Candice, what will you be in ten years without your B.A.?” it was to me the Voice of Doom. I blinked and swallowed hard, trying to contemplate life without my Bachelor of
up on this.” His lion’s head loomed two inches from my face. “Talk to me. Talk to me now about what’s going on. Tell me what you’re feeling.” And through tightly clenched teeth, “I’m feeling claustrophobic, if you really want to know, that’s all. I’m feeling like you’re smothering me, sticking your head in my face and sucking up all the oxygen. I’m feeling like it would be good if you’d back off.” But it wasn’t in him to back off; he would confront me until my defenses crumbled and I was
Prince, had recently suffered a stroke in London; Princess Anne was visiting Ethiopia. And some actress from America wanted an interview for a travel magazine. I plunged ahead guiltily with the help of a translator in Amharic, stuck with the prosaic questions I had submitted for approval in advance: how he felt about the achievement of the Organization for African Unity, his personal project; were education and health care the primary thrusts for development? What was his attitude toward
sense of fun. But what struck me as most unusual in a star of his stature was his lack of vanity, his comfortable sense of assurance. There was an honesty and directness about Sean, a wholeness, a manliness, that stardom had not eroded. With Simon Harrison and Sean Connery on the set of The Wind and the Lion That in itself may not sound worthy of scientific study, but it is rare enough: I had discovered, over the years, that insecurity was not, as the stereotypes had it, the exclusive