California Authors

LITTLE BY LITTLE (People I've Known and Been)

By Rich Little,

A Book Review by Craig MacDonald

Anyone who has been lucky enough to catch Rich Little doing comic impressions of celebrities and Presidents, will be fascinated by his book, "Little By Little."

Superbly written by this Canadian native, who started out imitating the voices of some of his teachers, this enjoyable read will give you remarkable insight into the likes of Jack Benny, George Burns, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Carol Channing, Judy Garland, and Ronald Reagan.

"The Man of 200 Voices," who turns 80 on November 26, 2018, still tours the country when he's not appearing in his Las Vegas show. He has been a hit on TV and stage for more than half a century.

He gained the respect and admiration of most stars, after years of studying their voices, mannerisms and personalities, then adding his incredible humor.

Of all the impressionists I've seen, Rich is the best. A lot of the celebs agree. "He does me so well, people tell me I remind them of Rich Little," Jimmy Stewart once said. Many thank him for keeping their careers alive.

He not only appeared many times on "The Tonight Show," "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts" and "Fantasy Island" TV episodes, but performed in The White House for several Presidents, including Ronald Reagan.

Rich once asked Reagan why he always looked down before he spoke. The President replied: "You'd look down too, if you owned a horse ranch!"

Reagan actually once left the room and had Rich take over a White House Press Conference and answer the media's questions in the President's voice! One reporter inquired, "With all the unrest in the Middle East, do you think you'll send jets to Israel?" Rich replied: "No, what would they do with a bunch of football players?" (New York Jets)

He was so good at impressions, that Rich once dubbed the voice of ailing Actor David Niven in the movie, "Curse of the Pink Panther."

Little, whose well-drawn portraits and photos with celebs can be found throughout the work, even offers a chapter, "Can Anyone be an Impersonator?"

Singing impressions are the easiest, he says, because if your audience likes the song "and you sound a little like the singer, they'll think it's pretty good."

The son of a doctor tells what great listeners Johnny Carson, Gregory Peck and Orson Wells were and how that skill helped their careers.

There are so many wonderful anecdotes, about the good and bad aspects of the well-known, that you'll find it difficult to read this "little by little." You'll probably read and enjoy it all at once--"cover to cover!"

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