My Three Sons, the TV series where I played Ernie Douglas
for eight years, was nearing a milestone: the 50th anniversary of its premiere. Not many TV shows last a half a century
and are still held in such high regard. It seemed like an appropriate time to look back and write about my series,
and my life, especially because it didn’t end in the crash-and-burn tale that is typical of so many child stars.
I’m in my mid-fifties now and
working regularly as a character actor in some of today’s biggest films (The Social Network, You Don’t Mess With
The Zohan, First Daughter) and TV projects (Mad Men, Big Love, Two and a Half Men, Desperate Housewives).
To be forthright, I wrote my book to trumpet my comeback, an accomplishment I’m proud of. In recent years,
I’ve been lucky to work with such contemporary stars as Robert Downey, Jr., Brad Pitt and Katie Holmes. I felt
that people would enjoy reading about these positive experiences. I also knew that fans would be curious about
my child actor past, where I had good times and bad, particularly after the jobs disappeared. I began to fill my idle
hours with drug use, which led to disillusionment and despair. Eventually, I controlled my demons, charted a new
life course and reclaimed my acting career. I became a Hollywood survivor with some hard lessons to share about
fame, peer pressure and the process of reinventing one’s self.
I also wrote my memoir to answer questions that fans continually ask me: What was Fred MacMurray really like?
Who was the most fun to work with: Lucille Ball, Jerry Lewis or Jack Benny? What was it like to act with your real brother
on My Three Sons? How did you move on with your life and career after the show was canceled in 1972? What was
it like working with Charlie Sheen on Two and A Half Men or Robert Donwey, Jr. on Zodiac? I’ve tried to be truthful
with all my answers, revealing my personal perspective on some of America’s most beloved entertainment icons.
In the end, I wrote my book because I found it fun to
do. It was a magical way for me to revisit old friends, some world famous and some not, some still alive and others
deceased. My life has been an amazing journey, filled with triumph, rejection and redemption.
I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it!