Sneak Peek: Wilmer Valderrama to Release Memoir, An American Story

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Today Harper Select announced they will publish An American Story: Everyone’s Invitedthe debut memoir from Wilmer Valderrama, on September 17, 2024. The book tells the remarkable true story of a young immigrant from Venezuela who had a dream to change the world, a talent for entertaining, and a determined spirit to build a new life, taking as many as possible with him on the journey.

An American Story weaves Valderrama’s personal stories with those of the remarkable people he’s met along his philanthropic journey. This isn’t just Valderrama’s story though. It’s a view of America through an immigrant’s eyes, in both its stunning unmatched wonders and all its native challenges.

“I’ve long been a fan of Wilmer’s talent and have now become even more impressed with his overall character and heart for service,” said Matt Baugher, SVP at HarperCollins and Publisher of Harper Select. “Whether he’s on the set of a major tv show or onstage at one of his more than 50 USO appearances around the world, his ebullient optimism inspires all around him.  I can’t wait for readers to know his full story. The American Dream is alive and well.”

His new book, An American Story, goes back to the beginning, delving into Valderrama’s upbringing in Venezuela where he was raised by two hard working parents as they navigated their family through a rapidly changing country and the rise of Hugo Chavez. With the economy crashing around them and their livelihood disappearing, the family decides to flee the country. Suddenly, the young boy had to grow up quickly, journeying as a teenager from a tiny little pueblo in Venezuela to the big city of Los Angeles.

After being cast in a school theatre production, Valderrama immediately knew he had found his calling and began thinking of ways to help support his struggling family. To do this, he would attempt the impossible: find work in Hollywood as an unproven Latino actor. Following countless auditions and frequent criticisms of his accent, he created the personality that would eventually land him the role as Fez on the hit series That 70s Show, which catapulted him to stardom.

It was however through service to others and his first USO trip, where Valderrama found his expanded calling, entertaining and encouraging US troops around the world. Through his work, Valderrama hopes to demonstrate his love and gratitude for the country that changed his life.

“As a little boy growing up in Venezuela, I never thought I would write a book, let alone be able to fill it with such complex and triumphant stories about a 25-year career in entertainment, philanthropy, and everything in between. This is my thank you to my younger self for seeing beyond the expected,” said Valderrama. “Thank you to my family and every person who has been a part of this whirlwind journey. This is my tribute to the country that gave me a shot, this is for all of us.”

An American Story will be released simultaneously in both English and Spanish. Both editions of the book will be available in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook with Valderrama narrating. You can pre-order today at https://www.harpercollinsfocus.com/harper-horizon/american-story.

ABOUT WILMER VALDERRAMA:
From his breakout role as Fez on the Emmy-nominated series That ’70s Show to playing Nick Torres in the number-one TV drama NCIS on CBS, actor, producer, and activist Wilmer Valderrama has been making audiences laugh, listen, and think for more than two decades.

On the big screen, he lent his voice to the Academy Award-winning Disney animated film Encanto, which became a cultural phenomenon. Behind the camera, in 2006, Wilmer established his production company, WV Entertainment, where he continues to develop and produce projects in the alternative and scripted spaces.

Valderrama is active in several philanthropic agencies. He’s the co-founder of Harness, a group dedicated to connecting communities through conversation to inspire action, serves on the board of Voto Latino, and sits on the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s (NHMC) Visionary Alliance, which aims to foster opportunities for Latinx talent in the entertainment industry through the Series Scriptwriters program and the Latinx Stream Showcase. Wilmer is deeply involved with the military community, serving as a USO Global Ambassador, and participating in various shows worldwide.

Born in Miami and raised in Venezuela until the age of thirteen, Valderrama is fluent in Spanish and English. He and his family reside in Los Angeles.