North of Hollywood “raises the genre of the Hollywood Memoir to an art form.” – Michael Norell, Writers Guild of America Award winner and two-time Christopher Award winner

manLenz’s newest release, The Alexandrite, is a kaleidoscopic novel noir that glimpses Hollywood’s past and present through the lenses of time travel, hypnotism, gemology, and casting calls for Bus Stop, Marilyn Monroe’s haunting blockbuster. New York Times bestselling author Bret Easton Ellis wrote “with its twisty, compelling story it is just about impossible to put down,” and Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means, calls it “absolutely riveting.”

Rick Lenz delivers perfect lines, this time on the page instead of the stage, in an unprecedented, award­-winning memoir, North of Hollywood. ​Lenz invites his reader on a quest through a shadowed childhood into the spotlight of Hollywood and rides away on an intensely personal journey into light and love. Writer’s Digest called it “masterful” and gave it a “standing ovation.”

Rick has made a life of immersing himself in stories, but if you ask him for his best one, he’ll say it’s being married to his soul mate, Linda. In a smoky booth on their first blind date, Linda gave Rick one long look and said, “Not bad.” It was the only standing ovation he needed. Linda is a loving and adored stepmother to Rick’s three children, and they are also proud grandparents.

“I wrote twenty-five plays and four lousy novels, and then I started to get good.” – Rick Lenz

The Alexandrite

alexandriteNow available from Amazon and other bookstores
When Jack Cade is fired from a no-pay stage production of Hamlet in 1996, he has no inkling his next role will be opposite Marilyn Monroe – in 1956. As a down-and-out forty-year-old actor, Jack’s luck – and life – change when he’s sent an anonymous note with a pawn ticket for an alexandrite ring. After his beloved wife leaves him, a mysterious woman asks him to meet her at an old house deep in the San Fernando Valley. With nothing to lose, Jack decides to go. Once he steps through her door, he enters a world of beguiling physics and plain old magic to travel through time. Through a glitzy and dark whirlwind of events, Jack meets Marilyn, gets killed (more than once), and emerges with the alexandrite, a famed stone that lies surprisingly at the heart of Jack’s life.

Advance praise for The Alexandrite

“Along the way, this fascinating look at the underbelly of Hollywood offers an intriguing glimpse into Monroe’s tragic life and death. Like Monroe, the novel is impressively complex. Lenz—himself a veteran actor—cunningly blends time travel, LA noir, Hollywood glitz and self-discovery, making for a uniquely appealing read. A stellar story illuminated by a star’s light and a man’s search for himself.”

North of Hollywood

northofhollywoodA spectrum of hardboiled fame, floodlit failures, hilarity and heartbreak, small and staggering successes, and self­-discovery, North of Hollywood ​is a memoir of one actor’s journey from a shadowed childhood into the spotlight of Hollywood and into the heart of humanity itself. A critical success noted for its gentle and irreverent narrative, North of Hollywood has won nine national awards.

Featured Review for North of Hollywood

“Most people don’t know the simple truth that Lenz reveals in this captivating autobiography: Actors are real people, and acting is a real job … We’re enthralled by the glamour, but Lenz helps us focus on the real point: The hardest part of a glamorous life, of any life, is to find one’s feet and stay standing. Lenz is still standing, and North of Hollywood is a warm credible account of how he found his place in and out of the limelight. … The earned wisdom of a seasoned veteran.”
— US REVIEW OF BOOKS, a Recommended Review

Recognition for North of Hollywood

Foreword Book Reviews Book of the Year: Winner, Performing Arts
Los Angeles Book Festival: First Place, Memoir
London Book Festival: Runner-Up, Memoir
Beach Book Festival: Runner-Up, Memoir
Hollywood Book Festival: Runner-Up, Memoir

REVIEWS for North of Hollywood

Winner of the Los Angeles Book Award and the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award

“Talent to burn.”

“… An overwhelming sense of peace, the type gained through experience and reconciliation, pervades the novel from the very first few chapters. … A scattering of movie references provide readers with enough chronological anchors to highlight the memoir’s kaleidoscopic form without breaking the rhythm of Lenz’s poetic prose. The effect is beautiful, as if the reader were experiencing Lenz’s life from the perspective of every camera that ever filmed him.”

“Masterful … Standing ovation.”

“I was totally engaged with North of Hollywood, start to finish. Sometimes it felt like Rick Lenz wasn’t just ‘opening the kimono,’ as they say in the business, but was actually peeling off his skin. I admire his courage in telling it.”

“An essential book for anyone who has ever said they want to be an actor and anyone who was lucky enough not to. Compulsively readable! … perceptive and poignant wisdom …”
— MICHAEL KAHN, artistic director of the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C.; former head of drama at The Juilliard School

“A touching, bittersweet remembrance of a workaday career in acting … He writes with self-punishing honesty … documents a career longevity that is breathtaking. … His story is more about self-acceptance than glory, and readers will cheer as he reaches that realization himself.”

“North of Hollywood is an often funny, sometimes gut wrenching, and immensely engaging true tale of one actor’s journey … If you want to believe happy endings are possible in real life, even when real life is show business, take a look at North of Hollywood.”

“I greatly admire Rick Lenz’s thoughtful and well written book.”

“An actor’s intimate, sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching, and always honest account of making a living while living next to Hollywood legends.”

North of Hollywood should be required reading for anyone who aspires to the acting life in New York and the City of Angels. Enchantingly written with a sure hand and a knowing eye, Rick Lenz reveals with enormous poignancy and gleeful insight what it has taken to make one real life work while pursuing the Hollywood dream.”

North of Hollywood gave me more satisfaction than any celebrity memoir or Hollywood insider book I’ve ever read! Yes, as a pop-culture junkie I drooled over the movie and TV anecdotes, but the best parts, for me, are the introspective passages. Rick Lenz’s book reads like a nonfiction novel. It is, by turns, fall-on-the-floor funny and graveyard serious, a page-turner with a brain. This is an excitingly original book overflowing with lyrical power that I can’t compare to anything else I’ve ever read. His voice is endlessly thought provoking and entertaining. I LIKE THIS BOOK! in an over-the-top, Sally Field kinda way.
— KEVIN COOK, writer and editor