Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Forgotten Heroes of Yore: Steve Guttenberg


Every so often a man comes along who is greater than the times in which he lives. His very presence is a beacon of excellence that promotes and encourages greatness from those around him.

Steve Guttenberg is such a man.

During the wonderful time that was the 80s, Steve Guttenberg rode a wave of unrivaled popularity. Everywhere he went he was mobbed. Women threw themselves at him. Men begged him for tips on emulating his eminence. He was a god among men!

His shinning visage bathed us in a glorious light whenever we went to the movie theaters to see Cocoon, Short Circuit, the Police Academy franchise and the ever popular Three Men and a Baby movies. Each movie is a testament to his magnificent acting skill.

But what happened to him? Ever since the 90s, he has slowly disappeared from our movie and television screens and has moved to the back burner of American consciousness. How did this great man fall from grace and where is he now? To answer these questions, we must examine Steve Guttenberg’s career, from the beginning.

Steven Robert Guttenberg was born Raul Sorvig Guevara in Hell, Michigan, in 1958. His parents, Jesus and Bjorin Guevara, were both circus freaks, trained to chew nails and car doors to the delight of rural mid-western audiences. Steve wasn’t satisfied with the simple life his parents had planned for him. He didn’t want to marry the bearded lady and take over the family business. So he ran away and joined a law office as a paralegal.

Steve worked at the law offices of Stein, Berg and Gold carrying papers about and doing research for the lawyers. He discovered an aptitude for making people laugh whenever he would tell clients what their bills were.

Guttenberg was able to parlay that skill into a small gig yelling really bad jokes at passersby on street corners. The job paid only chewed gum and greasy sandwich wrappers, but it got his foot in the door.

One day, one of the people Steve yelled at turned out to be a Hollywood movie producer. The producer saw a gleam in Guttenberg’s eyes that inspired him to hire Steve for his first movie, The Chicken Chronicles, in 1977. Steve played the main character, David Kessler, a man who is torn between his love of a woman and his deep burning desire for some chicken poon. Steve’s powerful performance in that groundbreaking role set Tinsel Town ablaze with gossip of the up-and-coming A-List actor.

Other roles soon followed, including the starring role in The Boys from Brazil about an Inuit man and his own Brazilian-Siamese twin. The movie won an Oscar for special effects. He was also in Diner, which was one of his most difficult early parts, where he played a man who was locked up in a mental institution for believing that he was a 1950s Drive-in Diner.

Guttenberg really caught the culture’s attention in 1984 when he starred as Mahoney, in Police Academy. A movie that spawned a half dozen sequels all equally as funny as the original, if not more so. The Police Academy series has received many accolades and are lauded as comedy classics, funnier than anything done by the Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin or the Marx Brothers. Jim Carrey once said in an interview that he modeled his physical humor style after Steve Guttenberg.

Steve went on to make a few more 80s classics, alongside a robot, a baby, a bunch of aliens in cocoons and some feisty old people; Bad Medicine, The Bedroom Window and Amazon Women on the Moon, respectively. All of those movies made billions of dollars and allowed Steve to buy half of Iceland, where he moved with his wife Aphrodite and his sons Chewie and Boba Guttenberg.

Disaster struck Steve Guttenberg in 1995 when he was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while filming It Takes Two, a porno featuring the Olsen twins, both well known nymphomaniacs. Steve had to undergo a radical new treatment wherein he had to stay submerged in a tank of orange juice for 23 hours a day, for 4 years.

While the treatment successfully put the cancer in remission, it left Guttenberg weak and citrusy-smelling. At this time he also was dealt a crushing blow when his favorite fichus tree was overwatered and died.

Weak and depressed, Steve made his way to Tibet, where he spent the next five years in the Bonyg Shu Monastery. He was trained in the art of Pon Farr, a lost skill that develops a person’s acting and improvising abilities and gives them the power to make a man soil his pants from 200 yards away with just a look.

Rejuvenated and refreshed, Guttenberg made his way back to Hollywood. In the spring of 2008, he triumphantly returned to primetime on the television show Dancing with the Stars, where he was promptly voted off the show in the third episode for being a really bad dancer.

Last month, Steve was honored with a Tony Randall Lifetime Achievement Award for Being an Old Queen Who Refuses to Accept his Has-Been Status. In previous years, this award was given to Charles Grodin, Bill Cosby and Woody Allen, so Steve is in good company.

What’s next for Mr. Guttenberg? He’s rumored to play King Tut in the next Batman movie coming out next summer and will follow that up with the role of Skeletor in the Masters of the Universe-on Ice! Coming soon to a mall near you.

Allow me to finish this bio of Mr. Guttenberg with a haiku:

Steve Guttenberg-Man!
Your humor, much like the sun
Burns up my retinas.

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