The actor, writer, director and author will headline the 16th annual fair.
Eriq La Salle is a venerable Hollywood actor, writer, producer, and director. Early in La Salle’s career he was well-known for portraying “Darryl Jenks” in the classic Eddie Murphy comedy movie, “Coming to America.” Following “Coming to America,” he gained international appeal as “Dr. Peter Benton” on the NBC medical drama, “ER.”
In addition to La Salle’s numerous acting, directing, and producing credits he is also the author of the books, “Laws of Depravity,” and “Laws of Wrath.” They are both a part of a series that now includes its third installment, “Laws of Annihilation.”
The third book in the series “Laws of Annihilation” will be in the spotlight along with its author Eriq La Salle at the 2023 Leimert Park Village Book Fair on Saturday, November 11th, 11am – 5pm.
La Salle has been tapped to serve as ambassador of the 16th annual book fair, along with another “E.R.” alum actor and author Omar Epps.
La Salle and Epps will also be featured authors. La Salle says he is looking forward to this historic event, meeting fans, signing books, and participating in the question-and-answer session.
“I heard about it for years and always wanted to participate in it, so this year the opportunity was presented to me, and I’m very excited about that,” he said.
La Salle describes himself as an East Coast guy from, “the insurance capitol of the world,” Hartford, Connecticut. He says it’s an interesting dichotomy coming from a city known for its association with a multi-billion-dollar industry, but also being one of the poorest cities in the nation.
“But I had a really strong, solid mother, so we never felt that want or need,” said La Salle. “If you grow up with love, it’s a peaceful existence, it’s a happy existence, so you’re not aware of what you don’t have.”
La Salle says if you were Black and in Hartford, you played basketball, and he enjoyed it, but writing was a true passion of his early on. However, writing was replaced by acting when he joined his high school drama club at the age of fourteen.
“My activities were surrounded around going to plays and performing. I wasn’t the kid who was interested in hanging out past eleven, because I was doing something related to the arts,” remembered La Salle.
He was a student at Julliard, and then graduated from New York University with a graduate degree in Theatre. La Salle says that strong foundation in his craft gave him the confidence, to further his career in acting. However, his beginnings in acting did not come without its challenges.
“When I first started out there were more limited roles for people of color. A lot of those roles were pimps, hoes, and drug dealers in the eighties and nineties, that’s what it was,” said Lasalle.
He continued, “If you wanted to survive, if you wanted to act, you did some things, but I never did anything I was ashamed of but have a done some bad movies? Hell yeah!”
However, from many of those bad movies or bad TV shows, La Salle says it was a learning opportunity of what not to do when he became a director. He has directed several television programs including, “Chicago Med,” “Training Day,” “The Librarians,” “Chicago P.D.,” “Law & Order: Organized Crimes,” and “First Kill.” One of La Salle’s film directorial credits is the cult classic “Crazy as Hell,” which he also produced.
But it will be LaSalle’s role as an author that will take center stage at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Commenting on his novels, La Salle says that he likens the feel of the books to the film, “Seven,” which follows three protagonists.
“The two lead New York City detectives are an Irish-Italian American detective, and the other one is African American. They are considered to be the best closers, meaning they solve the most cases in all of New York,” said La Salle.
“They are then partnered with a Jewish-American female FBI agent. Each book leans into their own personal connection to whatever case their working on.”
To learn more, visit leimertparkbookfair.org.