Eric Kaldor has lived an interesting life to say the very least. While starting out in the mailroom of an ad agency as a young man, he was eventually hired as a production assistant on the soap opera As The World Turns. Eric later ended up in California and began to write for shows such as The Incredible Hulk and Kojak, for which he was nominated for an Emmy. He also started an affair with the wife of a Hollywood mogul, who, upon finding out, had Eric “Hollywood blacklisted.” Unable to write, he started selling drugs to the stars, movers, and shakers in Hollywood. Along the way, he became a cocaine and quaaludes addict, and with his girlfriend, they frequented orgies in LA.
Kaldor tied himself to a bed, kicked drugs, and suffered organ failure, but remarkably recovered. He began to write again and became an actor. He’s been featured in Hollywoodland, ER, House and numerous commercials. His stories have helped him write Downward Facing Dog, a self-deprecating, tragic, black-comic novel about his life. Downward Facing Dog, which, as of now is still in-progress, can be read (and listened to via podcast) in serial form on Eric’s website. So, without further ado, here are 10 questions for Eric Kaldor.
1. What would you like readers to know about Downward Facing Dog?
I want readers to know my novel Downward Facing Dog is XXX rated, but so was my life. I hope readers will find it amusing at times, enlightening at times—and sometimes cringe worthy. I hope they will see, despite the graphic descriptions, that I have been totally honest.
2. Who are some writers that have affected your storytelling sensibilities?
Henry Miller. He taught me you could be honest when writing about sex. He also had a unique and I think truthful take on America.
Nathaniel West. He wrote the quintessential novel about Hollywood, The Day of The Locusts. He also writes the most beautifully crafted sentences. He died very young. If he had lived I am convinced he would have become America’s most honored and important writer of the last century.
Ernest Hemmingway. When I read him as a kid I got weepy…he was so great. After reading his short stories I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a writer.
3. How does writing a novel differ from writing for television?
When you write a novel you’re on your own. It’s all yours—both the good and the bad stuff. In TV you’re dealing with preconceived characters. You’re second guessed by story editors and producers. Sometimes they get it right. Most often they don’t because your work goes through too many hands. In a novel the hands and voice are yours
4. As a kid I was a big, big, big fan of The Incredible Hulk. I don’t actually have a question here, I was just geeking out a bit. I would, however, love to hear some tidbits from your experience writing for the show?
I have blogged about writing for The Hulk. One of the conondrums on that show was how to get Bill Bixby back in clothes after he ripped them apart when he became the Hulk. The problem was never solved to anybody’s real satisfaction. He just reappeared in his civvies and we let it go at that.
5. Are you still “blacklisted” from writing in Hollywood?
No, I’ve outlived the black list, but I can’t get script work because of my age. Recently I was a recipient of a nice class action settlement because I couldn’t get work becasue of ageism. Hooray for The Writer’s Guild.
6. Has you ability as a writer played any part in your development as an actor?
Writing has certainly helped my acting. I have never taken a dramatic class. Being a writer, I know what the original creator of the script was going for and all I try to do is give it back to him.
7. What drove you to write Downward Facing Dog?
A writer writes and in this time of my life I wanted to live a record of my turbulent existence…with all the warts and all the good stuff. I wanted Downward Facing Dog to be interesting, funny, scatalogical and, above all, honest. I also wanted it to be a cautionary tale and I hope Downward Facing Dog gets me some good karma…I sorely need it.
8. Do you watch much TV anymore and, if so, what, in your opinion, are some of the best written shows on TV?
I mainly watch movies and news on TV. I find commercial TV maddening with all the interruptions when they are sellling us stuff or pimping for upcoming shows. But I love The Daily Show and most things Larry David does.
9. What are you currently working on?
I am currently writing the last chapters of Downward Facing Dog. I’m also writing a book proposal and blogs on my site.
10. Having had such a colorful and varied career, is there any one achievement you could point to that makes you the most proud?
It’s strange, because while I’m proud of some of my writing, especially Downward Facing Dog, what I am most proud of is an athletic event. In the course of my sports career in TV, I raced the winner of The Olympic Downhill. I won. Okay, I happened to beat the winner of the Women’s Downhill, but I’m proud of it anyway.
And there you have it. I’d like to thank Eric Kaldor for being so generous with his time. If you want to learn more about Eric, you can visit EricKaldor.com. You can also connect with Eric on Facebook and on Twitter.