Most people know actor Evan Handler for his role as Harry Goldenblatt, who was married to Charlotte in the popular HBO series Sex and the City. What may be surprising to some is that at age 24, Evan was diagnosed with a supposedly incurable leukemia that nearly claimed his life. Gayle talks with Evan about his life story, which he recounts in his book It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive.
Evan was a young actor in his early 20s working as an understudy in Neil Simon's play Biloxi Blues when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a fatal blood disorder. Despite the bleak prognosis, Evan battled the cancer and won. Though he was cured, Evan says he felt angry about the uncaring treatment he often received as well as the time he had lost while fighting his illness, an experience he wrote about in his first book, Time on Fire. "It took a really long time to find the kind of gratitude and contentment in my life that I thought I should have had simply for having survived," he says.
In his second book, It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive, Evan writes about his journey to move beyond his negative experience and about the progress he's made to arrive at the happy place he's at now. Part of the novel describes how, in order to make up for lost time, Evan essentially lived out his 20s in his 30s with all the dating, experimenting and "ridiculousness" that goes along with it. "My humiliations become the reader's enjoyment," he says.
A big part of Evan's present-day success as an actor stems from his role in Sex and the City and, most recently, Sex and the City: The Movie. Evan says that wherever he goes, people light up because of how much they loved his character. "It's like something special has happened to them, and all I'm doing is running my errands," he says. "I talk about it as being like a weird superpower because suddenly it's like my presence makes people excited."