Arts Post
Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 09/21/2012

Andrew McCarthy, actor turned travel writer

He’s better known for his life on film, but brat-pack actor Andrew McCarthy has spent a great deal of time and energy the past 20 years on the road as a travel writer. He brings tales of the road (and of home) to National Geographic headquarters tonight in a talk drawing from his memoir, “The Longest Way Home.”

McCarthy, an indifferent high school student in New Jersey, moved to New York to act after graduation and, with almost no resume, managed to star as the lover of Jacqueline Bissett (then a major babe, kids) at 19, in “Class.” This meant large numbers of his male peers wanted to hurl him off the nearest bridge, but a breakout roles in “Pretty in Pink,” “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Less than Zero” followed. He then he settled into a steady career, mostly as a supporting player, on film, television and stage.
Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Mare Winningham and Andrew McCarthy star as recent college graduates learning about love, friendship and responsibility as first-year adults in their freshman year of life in Columbia Pictures' "St. Elmo's Fire." (Columbia Pictures - COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES INC)

But, he writes in this entertaining memoir, he was always a loner and found solace and a sort of identity in wandering the globe between acting gigs. The book’s subtitle, “One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down,” gives the outline of his central conflict: The yearn to travel, the need to stay with his fiance (and, eventually, wife) and children.

In between, there are travels to exotic places (Patagonia, Baltimore), heavy drinking (in his 20s) and very few bon mots from his film career. His two professions both draw on creativity and storytelling, he says, but these are tales from the highway, not from the bright lights.

Andrew McCarthy, National Geographic Live! 7:30 p.m. Tickets for members, $18, non-members, $20. 1600 M Street NW, Washington. 202-857-7700.

By  |  10:15 AM ET, 09/21/2012

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