The Steve Guttenberg Bible [classic article]

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42-year-old Steve Guttenberg may have become the king of the sugarcoated sequel, but he’s laughing all the way to the bank. A graduate of Julliard, Guttenberg’s film credits include the sobering “The Boys from Brazil” (1978); the crush-inducing “Diner” (1982); the highest-rated TV drama of all time, “The Day After” (1983); the lafftastic “Police Academy” flicks I through IV (including Bobcat Goldthwait’s tasty debut in II); “Cocoon” and its sequel, “Cocoon: The Return”; the improbable success “Three Men and a Baby” (1987) with its sequel, “3 Men and a Little Lady” (1990); “Home for the Holidays” (1995); and “Zeus and Roxanne” (1997).

It’s an admirably long resume, and one that seems to benefit from co-stars who can make funny sounds with their mouths. Lately, he’s been keeping busy with his production company, PlainEdge productions.

Q: What new projects do you have on deck?

Steve Guttenberg: I’m producing and starring in “P.S. Your Cat is Dead”; it’s a 25-year-old play that was written by James Kirkwood, the author of “A Chorus Line.”

Have you changed your ideas of perks and budgeting since becoming a producer?

Yes, of course! Employees must be treated like gold. The only way for a company to succeed, whether it’s 2 or 200,000 is that everybody has to be “into it,” as we say out here. The best way to have everybody into it is to pay everyone well. All successful companies know that their people have to have a personal life. Some companies will have nurseries or an on-staff psychologist, some will have people presenting forums. The Japanese know this. The company will grow this way.

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What kinds of decisions go into leaving a successful vehicle like “Police Academy”? Sometimes, like in the case of David Caruso and “NYPD Blue,” you never hear from them again.

The life of any entertainer has hills and valleys. All actors — even Clark Gable, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford — have hills and valleys. Audiences need to know this. Painters don’t always paint what you want to see.

You’ve said, “You can only do what you’re offered or you don’t work.” Do you still feel this way? Where do you draw the line?

I was talking to a well-known actor — I won’t mention his name — who said, “You can’t architect your career.” I agree. You really can’t. You choose from what you’re offered. You need money to pay bills. Unless you offer yourself the part! I want to continue this, working for myself. It’s like a person looking for a house.


You might say it’s beautiful, but they might say, “eh.”

You have a squeaky clean image. Is that something you strive for, to work with such folks as the Olson Twins? Or, is there some bad boy in you?

I need to be dirtier! My friends are in the newspaper for being in trouble — that’s good! Lots of ink. That’s key in this business. It’s never been my image.

Do you manage your own money?

I have an adviser, Howard Borris. He’s the largest solo adviser in LA. He’s been around for 30 years. He works with upwards of $50, $60 million.

What investments do you have?

I have real estate, commercial paper, several equities, mutual funds, and of course, my theatrical stuff.

What stocks do you have?

I wouldn’t mention them.

What’s a splurge for you?

I just put a new garden in, there’s deer in back. There’s hard wood, termites can’t eat it. I’ve got green apple, sage, jasmine, impatiens. Acacia trees. That’s what I call a “smart splurge,” where you’re not going to lose its value. I mean, I don’t have a problem if someone wants to buy a $100,000 Ferrari and sells it the next year for $90,000. If they want to drive a Ferrari for a year for $10,000, that’s not too bad. It depends on your income. If you spend a million on Ferraris and you have $3 million, it’s not the same as spending a million on several Ferraris if you have $200 million.

What are some things that you absolutely refuse to spend big money on?

A person.


I would never buy a person, even with unlimited wealth.


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