6 Oscar Winners That Have Written Exciting Books

Many Oscar Winners can do more than just act. Some can write riveting books. Read on to learn which Oscar Winners have turned to writing.

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Book covers of "notes From My Travels," "The Elephant to Hollywood," and "My Name is Barbra" on a gold glittery background.

Winning an Oscar can be a huge moment in an actor’s life. It is a culmination of all of their work where they are brought to new heights. However, while we may focus on what these actors have achieved on the big screen, we should also take a look at what these actors have achieved off-screen. Namely, a lot of successful actors have spent their time writing a page-turner of a book. Sometimes they write memoirs, telling the great accounts of their lives. Other times, they might want to give fiction a try, to see what kind of stories they can tell. Either way, these actors turned writers want to show a new side of themselves that their fans have likely never seen before. Here are some books by Oscar winners that will show you these actors’ capabilities.

Barbra Streisand

Not only is Barbra Streisand an Oscar winner, which she achieved by winning for Funny Girl and the song Evergreen from A Star is Born, but she is also one of the few EGOT winners. That means she has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, four of the most prestigious performing arts awards. Streisand has achieved a lot of success in her life, so it is only natural that she has a lot of stories to tell.

Book cover of "My Name is Barbra" with a side profile of a young Barbra Streisand on a black background.

The amount of what Streisand has to tell is why she wrote her autobiography My Name is Barbra. One thing you should know is that this memoir is not a quick read. Judging by the fact that the book is 970 pages, Streisand does not leave anything out. The book goes into detail of every part of her life, from her early beginnings to her super stardom, including that Oscar win, to where she is now at 81. Her book is a page turner, which is good because there is a lot of page turning to do.

Gene Hackman

Winning two Oscars and being nominated for three more is no easy feat. Nevertheless, Gene Hackman has the talent to accomplish this achievement, with his Oscar wins coming from The French Connection and Unforgiven. Apparently, his talents also extend to the written word. While he has not written a book about his life yet, although he would have quite the career to talk about, he has dabbled in the writing world through works of fiction.

Book cover of "Wake of the Perdido Star" with a large ship at sea with a yellow sky.

Hackman has written five novels in total. The majority of his novels are historical fiction but in different periods. Wake of the Perdido Star took place at sea in the 1800s, Justice for None was a murder mystery set in the Great Depression, and Escape from Andersonville was set during the Civil War and told the tale of a prison escape. They are all fairly different stories, but they all look into the past. He wrote these novels alongside writer and undersea archeologist Daniel Lenihan. His solo projects were the Wild West novel Payback at Morning Peak and the political thriller Pursuit. With all these exciting topics, Hackman’s intentions seem to give people a wild ride when reading.

Marlee Matlin

With her win for Children of a Lesser God, Marlee Matlin is the only deaf performer to win an Academy Award so far. She is also currently the youngest Best Actress winner. Since that win, she has had many notable performances and has worked extensively with the National Association of the Deaf. Matlin wants to use her fame for good, which she accomplishes through the books that she writes.

Book cover of "Deaf Child Crossing" with a young girl walking across a small ledge by the water and tall grass with purple coloring.

She wrote the children’s novel Deaf Child Crossing, which is about a hearing girl and a deaf girl who are friends. The novel is partially inspired by Matlin’s own childhood. The novel then had a sequel, Nobody’s Perfect. These novels were meant to allow young deaf children to be seen in literature and to help young hearing children understand what life is like. Matlin also wrote a memoir, I’ll Scream Later, which shares the big highs and serious lows in her life. Matlin has accomplished a lot with her writing and that writing is used to help people who love her acting truly understand her experiences.

Michael Caine

Michael Caine is one of the few people to be nominated for an Oscar across five different decades. That accomplishment demonstrates not only the length of Caine’s career but also the fact that he was able to stay on top for so long. His two Oscar wins came from Hannah and her Sisters and The Cider House Rules. By this point, everyone has likely seen a film with Caine. Because of that popularity, it makes sense that people want to know more about his world. Luckily, he has made his life known across several different books. So far, Caine has written three memoirs. It seems that he would write a book, but then so much more would happen in his life that he would have to write another book, and so on. 

Book cover of "The Elephant to Hollywood," with Michael Caine standing, smiling, and pointing on a muted green cover.

His first memoir was called What’s It All About? It was not the most well-received memoir, as some critics felt it was a somewhat show-boating book. His next memoir was The Elephant to Hollywood, which many found to be more entertaining. His last memoir was Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life, which he wrote at 85. Are there any moments of his life left? In addition, before these memoirs, Caine wrote Not Many People Know That!: Michael Caine’s Almanac of Amazing Information. As evidenced by the title, this book is a collection of interesting trivia that Caine enjoyed and wanted to tell other people about. Caine also wanted to inform people about how to be successful, like himself, in Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Moviemaking. Recently, Caine wrote a novel, a thriller entitled Deadly Game. While it appeared that acting was always keeping him busy, he apparently had time to also do all of this writing.

Angelina Jolie

For decades, Angelina Jolie has been an A-list star admired by millions. From her stunning looks to her publicized life, she is hard to miss. A high point in her illustrious career was when she won the Oscar for her role in Girl, Interrupted. When she is not acting, she has used her notoriety for advocacy and humanitarian work. That type of work continues in books that she writes.

Book cover of Notes From My Travels" with a picture of ANgelina Jolie and a group of children n a white background.

While neither of her books is a memoir, Jolie’s books talk about true and serious matters. Her first book was Notes from My Travels: Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ecuador. The book was inspired by Jolie’s trips to third-world countries as a Goodwill Ambassador. It talks about her experiences and what she learned about these different memorable countries. Her second book was Know Your Rights and Claim Them: A Guide for Youth, which she wrote in partnership with Amnesty International and Geraldine Van Bueren. The book is meant to educate children on the rights that they have, as children may not always be aware. It is supposed to help them be strong and stand up for themselves. Jolie is using her power for good as she writes her books so that readers can be informed about important topics.

Alan Arkin

Even though he did not win his Oscar until he was 72, for Little Miss Sunshine, Alan Arkin had an extensive and impressive career before that point. He has two nominations before that win, one after, and a long filmography of films altogether. Through that long career, he has likely learned a lot and he has applied those lessons to paper. From fiction to nonfiction, Arkin has covered it all in his literature.

Book cover of "An Improvised Life" with Alan Arkin sitting and smiling in black and white on a gray background.

Arkin has written two memoirs about his thrilling life. His first one was An Improvised Life, and his second one was Out of My Mind, both written in the 2010s. While the first one focuses more on his life-acting career, the second book focuses on Arkin’s views on philosophy and how he got into practicing meditation. Earlier, he also wrote Halfway Through the Door: An Actor’s Journey Toward the Self, which also takes a look at his spiritual journey. Arkin also wrote books for children, including Cassie Loves Beethoven, Tony’s Hard Work Day, The Lemming Condition, and The Clearing, with the latter being a sequel to The Lemming Condition. His work in acting goes across different genres; and. the same can be said about his writing.

While most actors do not write the movies that they are in, a crucial part of their job is storytelling. They have to bring certain characters to life and drive forward plots so that audiences are captivated. In a way, that is similar to what a writer has to do. Therefore, it makes sense that some of these actors want to dive into the writing world, as they already have narrative storytelling experience. They can take their acting skills and apply them to the paper. These Oscar winners are some of the best in their field, which means they know a lot about storytelling, and they can successfully apply that knowledge to writing a brand new tale or bringing excitement to the stories of their lives.

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