Feature

Schreiber’s forgotten childhood

Soon after the actor was born, his parents’ marriage began to crumble.

Liev Schreiber was trained to forget things, said Andrew Goldman in Rolling Stone. Soon after the actor was born, his parents’ marriage began to crumble. His father—whom Schreiber describes as an “all-American WASPy guy from Pennsylvania”—thought a bad acid trip had left his wife unstable. Fearing her husband was about to have her committed to a mental institution, Schreiber’s mother—a “crazy, socialist beatnik Jew from New York”—kidnapped him and fled to a hippie commune in upstate New York. When Schreiber was 3, his dad kidnapped him back. His mother eventually won custody following an ugly legal battle. Schreiber says he has no memories of the chaos of those years. “But I must have been terrified. You’d think that would make a kid grow up scared, but I grew up fearless in a bad way, like I didn’t sense danger. Something shut off in me.” Schreiber still has problems with his short-term memory, which therapists think might be an old coping mechanism. “I can’t remember anything. It happens to me a lot, and I’m starting to worry.” During a recent TV talk show appearance, he says, “I was looking at the monitor and thinking, ‘Oh, this is funny, I’m enjoying this right now. Where am I?’”

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