McLarty, Ron 1947-
McLarty, Ron 1947-
Born April 26, 1947, in Providence, RI; married; wife's name Diane (deceased); married Kate Skinner (an actor), January 1, 2004; children: three sons.
Writer, novelist, actor, director, audiobook reader, and playwright. Actor in films, including The Sentinel, Universal Pictures, 1977; The Feud, WETA-TV, 1992; Daniel, Paramount Pictures, 1983; The Flamingo Kid, 20th Century Fox, 1984; Heartburn, Paramount Pictures, 1986; The Feud, American Playhouse, 1990; Two Bits, 1995; The Postman, Warner Bros., 1997; Batman: Dark Tomorrow, 2001.
Actor in television movies, including Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, NBC, 1977; Bloodbrothers, 1978; The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree, 1979; Nurse, Viacom, 1980; King Crab, ABC, 1980; The Berenstain Bears Meet Big Paw, 1980; The Berenstain Bears' Easter Surprise, 1981; The Berenstain Bears' Valentine Special, 1982; Berenstain Bears' Littlest Leaguer, 1983; Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, ABC, 1983; Tiger Town, 1983; Finnegan Begin Again, HBO, 1985; The Father Clements Story, NBC, 1987; A Little Piece of Heaven, 1991; Grace & Glorie, Hallmark Entertainment, 1998; Mean Streak, Showtime Networks, 1999; Trump Unauthorized, ABC, 2005; and Into the Fire, 2005.
Actor in television series, including Ryan's Hope, 1975; Spenser: For Hire, 1985-88; Cop Rock, 1990; Law & Order, 1991-2000; Pointman, 1995; Champs, 1996; Trinity, 1998; Third Watch, 2000-02; Sex and the City, 2000; Ed, 2002; The Practice, 2003; Judging Amy, 2003; The Jury, 2004; Jonny Zero, 2005; Law & Order: Trial By Jury, 2005; and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, 2006.
ACE Award for best actor nomination, for Tiger Town; Norfolk Southern Festival of New Works Award, 1992, for The Dropper; two AudioFile Earphones Awards, one for The Memory of Running.
The Dropper (play), produced in Norfolk, VA, 1992.
Sandpilot (play), produced in Montclair, NJ, at Luna Stage, 2003.
The Memory of Running (audiobook format), Recorded Books (Prince Frederick, MD), 2000, published in hardcopy, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
Art in America, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.
Traveler, Viking (New York, NY), 2007.
Also author of the plays Akela, produced in Los Angeles, CA, by Road Theater Company; and The Fulsom Head, produced in New York, NY, at Currican Theater.
Screen rights to The Memory of Running were sold to Warner Bros.
Veteran actor Ron McLarty is a playwright, director, and performer. He has appeared in numerous films and stage productions, and is a familiar presence on network television in programs such as Spenser: For Hire, Sex and the City, and Law & Order. McLarty's work as a narrator of recorded books led to him becoming a successful author as well. Throughout his lengthy acting career, McLarty had consistently been a writer, though publication eluded him. His "more than thirty years of writing longhand five hours a day" resulted in "ten unpublished novels, forty-four unpublished plays, hundreds of unpublished short stories, and ‘an encyclopedia's worth’ of unpublished poems," reported Gregory Kirschling in Entertainment Weekly. "I never expected to make a penny from my writing. It gave me a respite from bad times, and it explained the world to me," he told Kirschling. In 2000, while voicing several novels for the company Recorded Books, McLarty persuaded the company to let him record one of his own novels as a straight-to-audio project. The company agreed, and McLarty recorded The Memory of Running. Sometime later, author Stephen King encountered the audiobook and wrote a highly favorable review of it for Entertainment Weekly, in which he called the work "the best book you can't read." King's praise ignited a bidding war between several publishers interested in publishing the novel. A similar flurry erupted in Hollywood, leaving the fifty-six-year-old McLarty involved in a film and publishing deal worth in excess of two million dollars.
The Memory of Running tells the story of Smithson "Smithy" Ide, who works in a toy factory in Rhode Island, and his struggle for personal redemption after losing his entire family in one horrific week. Ide was once a slender runner in excellent physical condition, but his heavy drinking and general lack of concern for himself has caused him to balloon to almost 280 pounds. As a boy, Ide could often be seen riding his Raleigh bicycle, searching for his sister, Bethany, a beautiful young girl who was plagued with mental illness and who would often wander away from the family's home. When Bethany finally disappears and cannot be found, the toll on the family is enormous. Now, Ide's mother and father have been killed in a car wreck. Adding to his trauma, he uncovers an official letter stating that Bethany has been found dead in California and that her body is in a Los Angeles morgue. Drunk, possibly in shock, with no money and little thought for the immediate future, Ide climbs on his trusty old Raleigh bike and pedals off west. Along the way, he falls into many humorous situations, meets a diverse cast of colorful characters, discovers much about the world, and earns a newfound respect for himself. "In the tradition of literary heroes, Smithy Ide rallies as he rides west to rescue his sister one last time," observed Catherine Gilbride in the School Library Journal, who also called the book "a great first novel." With his writing, McLarty "unspools passage after passage of devastating grace and melancholy," commented Entertainment Weekly reviewer Adam B. Vary. A Reviewer's Bookwatch critic remarked that "McLarty combines vibrant and real characters, a gripping plot of personal growth, and awe-inspiring descriptions of his cross-country adventure into an absolute joy of words." A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that the novel is a "funny, poignant, slightly gawky debut that aims like its protagonist, to please—and usually does."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2006, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Traveler, p. 32.
Bookseller, November 5, 2004, "A Life Transformed," profile of Ron McLarty, p. 23.
Daily Variety, October 7, 2003, Michael Fleming, "Payday for Hyped Novel," p. 1.
Entertainment Weekly, September 19, 2003, Stephen King, "The Best Book You Can't Read," p. 92; January 14, 2005, Gregory Kirschling, "The Running Man: Unpublished for Thirty Years, Ron McLarty Is Now a Millionaire Debut Novelist, Thanks to Some Help from Stephen King," p. 54; January 14, 2005, Adam B. Vary, review of The Memory of Running, p.94; January 26, 2007, Gilbert Cruz, review of Traveler, p. 76.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2004, review of The Memory of Running, p. 1026; October 15, 2006, review of Traveler, p. 1038.
Los Angeles Times Magazine, March, 2004, Amy Wallace, "Act or Fiction? Actor Ron McLarty Wrote Novels for Fun. Then Stephen King Made Him Famous."
New York Post, October 8, 2003, "Stephen King Turns Unknown Scribe into Millionaire," p. 69.
New York Times, June 15, 2003, Neil Genzlinger, "Parallel Stories, across Generations," review of Sandpilot, p. 9.
New York Times Book Review, January 23, 2005, Mark Kamine, "And the Loser Is," review of The Memory of Running, p. 25; January 29, 2006, Ihsan Taylor, "Paperback Row," review of The Memory of Running, p. 24.
People, January 17, 2005, Francine Prose, review of The Memory of Running, p. 61.
Publishers Weekly, June 24, 2001, Trudi Rosenblum, "Audio-Only Novel Is Audie Finalist," p. 26; August 9, 2004, Natalie Danford, review of The Memory of Running, p. 127; November 1, 2004, review of The Memory of Running, p. 41; October 9, 2006, review of Traveler, p. 34.
Reviewer's Bookwatch, April, 2005, Catherine Ekbert, review of The Memory of Running.
School Library Journal, May, 2005, Catherine Gilbride, review of The Memory of Running, p. 169.
Times Literary Supplement, March 4, 2005, Stanley Trachtenberg, review of The Memory of Running, p. 21.
Variety, January 31, 2005, "Y tu ‘Memory’ Tambien," review of The Memory of Running, p. 2.
Blogcritics.org,http://www.blogcritics.org/ (March 16, 2005), review of The Memory of Running.
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (May 2, 2007), Jay MacDonald, "A Long, Strange Trip," interview with Ron McLarty.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (May 2, 2007), biography of Ron McLarty.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (May 2, 2007), filmography of Ron McLarty.
Ron McLarty Home Page,http://www.ronmclarty.com (May 2, 2007).