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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

From Actor to Author: Wilmer Valderrama's Memoir, 'An American Story,' Hits Shelves September 17, 2024

Photo: Courtesy of Harper Select, an imprint of Harper Collins Focus.

In a time when the American Dream is frequently questioned, Wilmer Valderrama exemplifies the possibilities that arise when determination encounters opportunity. Harper Select's announcement of Valderrama's debut memoir, An American Story: Everyone's Invited, set to hit the shelves on September 17, 2024, is a testament to a journey that transcends borders, cultures, and the very essence of what it means to chase a dream.

Valderrama, an actor, producer, and activist known for his infectious energy and commitment to philanthropy, shares his gripping tale of growing up in Venezuela, amidst the turmoil of a changing country and the rise of Hugo Chavez. With their livelihoods threatened by a collapsing economy, the Valderrama family made the bold decision to leave everything behind for a chance at a new beginning in Los Angeles. This memoir transcends Valderrama's personal story, integrating the diverse experiences of many he has met along his path, presenting a broad perspective of America seen through the lens of an immigrant.

From Venezuela to Hollywood Stardom

Valderrama's story is one of rapid maturation, forced by circumstances, from a young boy in a small Venezuelan pueblo to a major actor on the Hollywood scene. The memoir details his first taste of acting in a school theatre production, a moment that ignited a passion and set him on a path toward helping his family. Despite numerous auditions and criticisms, Valderrama's resilience never wavered. He eventually crafted the unforgettable character of Fez on That '70s Show, which catapulted him into the limelight and opened new avenues for his career.

Yet, it's through his philanthropic work, particularly with the USO, that Valderrama found a deeper calling. Entertaining and supporting US troops around the globe, he discovered a powerful way to give back to the country that offered him a second chance at life. This memoir is as much about giving thanks as it is about inspiring others to pursue their dreams, regardless of their origin.

More Than a Memoir

Matt Baugher, SVP at HarperCollins and Publisher of Harper Select, praises Valderrama's character and his "ebullient optimism" that has inspired many. This book promises to do more than chronicle Valderrama's rise to fame; it aims to reignite the belief in the American Dream and showcase the beauty and challenges of America through the lens of an immigrant who dared to dream big.

Valderrama's venture into writing is a "thank you" to his younger self, his family, and everyone who's been part of his extraordinary journey. An American Story is a tribute to the land that offered him opportunities and a call to action for all to pursue their dreams with unwavering tenacity.

A Cultural Phenomenon and Philanthropic Force

From his role as Fez to his voice work in the Academy Award-winning film Encanto, Valderrama has been a fixture in entertainment for over two decades. Off-screen, he's made significant strides in the industry with his production company, WV Entertainment, and through his philanthropic work with Harness, Voto Latino, and the NHMC's Visionary Alliance. His dedication to connecting communities and fostering opportunities for Latinx talent in entertainment has positioned him as a leader and advocate for positive change.

As "An American Story: Everyone's Invited" gears up for its grand bilingual unveiling in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook editions, with Wilmer Valderrama himself bringing his story to life through his narration, a wave of global anticipation builds. This memoir transcends the boundaries of a mere personal account; it stands as a monumental tribute to unwavering resolve, the pivotal role of community, and the limitless horizons that unfold for the audacious dreamers. Valderrama's odyssey from the humble beginnings in Venezuela to the dazzling heights of Hollywood fame serves as a resounding testament to the transformative power of dreams fueled by relentless effort.

This narrative is more than Valderrama's own—it's an open invitation for everyone to introspect about their aspirations and the legacy they aim to establish, reinforcing the enduring presence of the American Dream. It affirms, with striking clarity, that this dream thrives, pulsating with life and possibility for all who chase it with vigor and unwavering spirit.


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