Meet Craig Hurley, the author of "27 And All Washed Up". Craig currently lives in Miami but is a native of Chicago. Perhaps best known for his television roles in the late '80s, on classics such as “Nasty Boys” and “Life Goes On,” former teen idol Craig Hurley chronicles his roller coaster ride of drugs, sex, and excessive living as a leader of the "young Hollywood" pack in his new book, “27 and All Washed Up.”
Unfiltered and raw, Hurley recounts the sometime humorous and always meaningful story of his years in the fast lane with fellow stars Corey Feldman, Todd Bridges, Corey Haim, and Shannon Doherty, among others, who pursued living on the edge as their worlds crashed around them. As the "new generation" refuses to learn from the mistakes of others, "27 & All Washed Up" is a timely offering that includes a fascinating selection of photos, conversations, and memorabilia from Hurley's private collection.
Compiled from the conversations during a four-year interview with his friend Zak Wilson, in "27 & All Washed Up," Hurley bravely shares his journey as a teen idol in Hollywood. The book reads like an intimate conversation between two best friends, shedding a light on every explicit element of his personal life, while also serving as an inspirational guide for aspiring actors regarding how they can achieve success in Hollywood.
Craig talked to us about his book and life in both Chicago and Miami.
How did you get into acting? Was it something you always wanted to do when you were a kid or something your parents sort of forced upon you?
I think my parents would have wanted me to do anything else on the planet for a living besides be an actor, and I cannot blame them for the fact that I am. It’s all my fault. I did my first commercial for “Chevrolet” when I was four years old, not because my parents wanted me to but because I wanted to.
What are some of your fondest memories from childhood of acting?
Please refer to 27 And All Washed Up! It’s all in there.
Second City is pretty much an institution in Chicago and the comedy world. How did you decide to go there and how long were you there for?
When I attended Chicago Academy for the Arts, Joyce Sloane, the owner of Second City, was on the Board of Directors of my school. She invited me and other students of the Chicago Academy to take classes at Second City. I attended the beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes.
What are some of the lessons - life or career - you took away from your time at Second City?
It is every actor’s dream to have performed on Second City’s stage, where comedic giants have walked. Having said that, in 27 And All Washed Up you’ll learn that sometimes you should be careful what you wish for. I learned my improv limitations, and that performing before a great acting teacher can be humiliating.
You have said [about Second City] you learned your own improv limitations. What are your limitations and how do you push those boundaries?
If you give me a script, I can improv within the script. If you throw me up stage and say, “be funny”, we’re going to be there for a while and it’s excruciatingly painful… for everybody.
Tell us about your book. What can an unsuspecting reader expect when they open it up and when will it be hitting bookstores?
I’ve been told by people who have read 27 And All Washed Up that they are blown away by my honesty and candor. They say I didn’t pull any punches. What they don’t know is how many stories I didn’t tell! What I set out to do with this book is inform, instruct, and entertain. It’s nice to hear that unsuspecting readers have had exactly that experience with it. Ask your local bookstore to carry it, as we are right now doing a nationwide outreach to independent bookstores and getting great response. 27 And All Washed Up is available at www.craighurley.tv.
You mentioned in the book the neighborhood you grew up in had some talented people in it. What are some of the things you learned from your talented neighbors?
Many talented people in Chicago I knew ended up doing something with their lives to make money that has absolutely nothing to do with the talent they possess. There is a large pool of talent in Chicago with very little production to showcase that talent. Sadly, that’s what I learned.
We were struck by the comment "if you don't fit into a slot in the acting world, you ain't gonna make it as an actor." You went on to state there are a lot of jobs in the business that pay good money that aren't acting. What sort of jobs? Is it uncommon to find former actors doing things like lighting?
First, as far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as a “former actor”. If you are an actor and you have talent, you will always be an actor. Second… producers, directors, writers, casting directors, lighting engineers, cinematographers, sound engineers, art directors, PA’s, AD’s, wardrobe and makeup designers, session musicians for soundtrack, extras, stand-ins, voiceover artists… These are all examples of jobs in the entertainment industry that pay very well and that have all been occupied by actors.
I just saw an interview with the great Penny Marshall, who after having sustained a brilliant career as a comedic actress, was able to shift beautifully into directing and open up a whole other career within the business for herself. Too bad the entertainment industry doesn’t appreciate her as much as we do, because she says they won’t hire her because of insurance companies not wanting to insure her after an illness. So she wrote a book called My Mother Was Nuts, which I haven’t had the pleasure of reading yet but that I’m sure runs along the same lines as 27 And All Washed Up… For the industry to not insure a comedic genius and entertainment industry pioneer is insane and disrespectful, by the way.
We’re all going to die of something, but an artist’s contribution, specifically Penny Marshall’s, to film lives on forever.
What are you currently working on? What can we expect to see next from you?
I am currently editing an independent film I wrote, produced, and directed, starring actor Steven H. Hansen and myself with the working title of Crazy. Although the editing process has been complicated for various reasons, my publicist Dominic Friesen is begging me to get it done so we can get it into film festivals, which I hope to do very soon. It’s based on a personal experience of mine when I was nineteen, and is what I would call a “Buddy Movie Road Picture” gone wrong.