9 Sidekicks Who Got to Share Their Side of the Story
Judy Greer, Hollywood’s go-to gal for best friend roles (see 13 Going on 30, 27 Dresses, The Wedding Planner) just released her first book, a memoir titled I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star (that's her above, as Kitty in Arrested Development). Greer’s made a career out of playing a perpetual sidekick, and honestly? Whether it’s onscreen or in real life, it sounds way more fun than being in the spotlight.
Sidekicks in Hollywood tend to gain a cult following — Walter in The Big Lebowski, Summer on The O.C., Jack on Will & Grace — and the real life ones usually have the juiciest tales (aren’t the best tell-alls from former aides and close friends?) and the best secrets to spill. Greer isn't the first second banana who has gotten the chance to share her story; there are plenty of people from the sidelines of history who have a lot to say. When sidekicks share their side of things, you see pop culture icons in a whole new light — for better or for worse. But most importantly, you realize that sidekicks aren’t just sidekicks: they’ve got their own world, and they deserve our attention, too. Here are some of our favorites.
Stillwater by Art Garfunkel
Garfunkel’s soaring voice is often an afterthought to Paul Simon’s catchy guitar playing and beautiful lyrics, but Garfunkel proves his writing is just as powerful in his well-received 1989 poetry collection. (Great news: the poems are all published on his personal website.)
I, Rhoda by Valerie Harper
Harper played Mary’s best pal, Rhoda (a no-nonsense New Yorker) on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and eventually landed her own wildly successful spin-off series. Her autobiography, published in 2013, details her rise to the top and the life she leads now: She was sadly diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last year.
John by Cynthia Lennon
Yes, there was life (and a wife!) before Yoko. Cynthia Lennon attempts to set the record straight on her short marriage to the Smart Beatle in her memoir. The verdict? John was a jerk husband and a distant father to their son, Julian. It’s fascinating to hear the legend of The Beatles from an insider, and interesting to see the difference between the man who publicly preached about love but who privately didn’t always practice it.
All Too Human by George Stephanopoulos
Then a political wunderkind (and now a seasoned strategist and TV journalist), Stephanopoulos was Bill Clinton’s right hand man during his 1992 campaign and remained by his side in the White House through Clinton’s first term. All Too Human is a look into the fast-paced world of politics through the eyes of someone who’s seen it all.
A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties by Suze Rotolo
Rotolo met Bob Dylan right before he became famous (that’s her with him on the cover of his The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan), and the two dated for four years. Rotolo lived an interesting life (she died in 2011) as a Civil Rights and feminist activist, and the book is as much an account of Greenwich Village in its heyday as it is a relationship memoir.
Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson
Like Suze Rotolo, Johnson was also a woman on the margin of a major cultural shift whose own work — her first novel was published in 1962 — was overshadowed by the men around her. (She had the misfortune of falling in love with Jack Kerouac after being set up on a blind date by Allen Ginsberg.) Minor Characters is Johnson’s chance to highlight the oft-ignored women of the Beat Generation.
What Remains by Carole Radziwill
Before she was Cool Carole on The Real Housewives of New York City, Radziwill was married to Jackie O.’s nephew, Anthony, and was best friends with his cousin, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and his wife, Carolyn. Weeks after JFK, Jr. and Carolyn died in a plane crash, Anthony passed away from cancer. Her book is primarily a story of strength, but there’re plenty of tidbits that Kennedy fanatics will appreciate.
Behind The Bell by Dustin Diamond
According to Dustin Diamond (that’s Bayside High’s most famous dork, Screech) life at Saved by the Bell was one giant, drug fueled orgy. Whether his claims are true or not (all the cast members slept together and smoked weed backstage; Mario Lopez date raped a fan), it’ll definitely make you see the squeaky clean sitcom in a whole new light.
Quivers: A Life by Robin Quivers
As Howard Stern’s producer and on-air partner in crime, Quivers has seen her fair share of craziness, but the most formative parts of her life have happened off-air. She’s a former nurse, a member of the Air Force, and a survivor of an abusive childhood. Learn more about her and get some (admittedly outdated) Howard Stern gossip in her 1996 memoir.