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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Actor (and now Author) William Sanderson: A Man with a Story to Tell

by Cyrus Webb

When I began reading William Sanderson's book YES, I'M THAT GUY I couldn't help but think of that tagline from a popular show that said "You think you know, but you have no idea..." There was so much about his life and career that I DIDN'T know that he opens up about, giving us a look at how he became the man we all have felt as though we know and love---and the journey to getting there.

In 2019 I also had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Sanderson on Conversations LIVE the radio show. I asked him about the writing of the book and sharing his life with the world.  "I had some sleepless nights," he told me about writing and publishing the book. "I had some feelings of inadequacy, because I'm not a real writer. I had put down about 900 pages or so, and then I realized it's not very organized. I had to get some external help, a young man in Hollywood. I found I could talk with him and get my story out that way. My wife Sharon also helped me. It was also fun to get my words down there. It might be the stupidest thing I've ever done. It could be self sabotage. I get to thank people. I get to clarify a few things. So we'll see."

The book takes you into the moments that meant a lot to him growing up, especially the impact and growth of Elvis Presley---and the way he was drawn into the entertainment world and began working in the industry while fighting his own personal demons. In talking about Elvis he told me "When I was around him I'd keep my distance, but I loved his music. We all thought we knew Elvis, or we all think we know people, right? We find out later that we probably didn't know them as well as we thought. The saying is it's better not to meet your heroes, but I had a bunch of them. I got to meet a few of them, and most of them didn't let me down."

Sanderson shares openly about the danger he was to himself and though there have been amazing highs there have been some devastating lows that have accompanied him as well. "I still don't know the wisdom of it," he told me when it comes to sharing some of his darker moments. "What I was thinking is, my goodness, you got so many second chances it's a little bit of a minor miracle to do those things. But if you don't put something in a book that's disgraceful then you're probably lying."

When talking about readers of the book being inspired by his story he shared this: "Well, I don't think I was that noble at first, but after talking with a couple of people I think I can help someone. I want them to know that your dreams can come true. If you work hard and you have a little luck it pays off. It does take some guts. You will take a lot of rejection. It's a little scary." At the end of the day, though, he is thankful for the road. "What I feel great gratitude," he told me. "I'm just a character actor." 

At the end of the book you're able to see the body of work he has amassed, the stories that go along with it as well as the lessons he has learned that he is now able to impart to others. At times humorous, reflective and completely candid, this is the kind of book that anyone who wants to make an impact in the world should read. It reminds you of the importance of not just discovering your passion but learning yourself---and that can sometimes be the best reward.

Follow William Sanderson on Instagram at Get the book YES, I'M THAT GUY on Amazon.

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