Newsday TV's Elisa DiStefano chatted with actor Steve Guttenberg ahead of his upcoming LIfetime movie, "How to Murder Your Husband: The Nacy Brophy Story."  Credit: Newsday / Drew Singh; Lifetime; ABC; AP Images

Some may follow the Guttenberg Path by reading actor Steve Guttenberg's memoir of growing up in North Massapequa, heading to Hollywood after high school, and eventually becoming an iconic star of 1980s movies like "Police Academy," "Cocoon," "Short Circuit" and "Three Men and a Baby."

Others may follow the Guttenberg Path by swinging off Hicksville Road to a street adjacent to a shopping center housing Island Recreational swimming-pool supplies, the Once Upon a Child children's store and, among other businesses, Pappalardo's Pizza Cove, where Guttenberg hung out as a teen and still visits when in town. The short thoroughfare was named after him, he says, despite his having joked five years ago that he wouldn't have wanted that since "anyone who has a street named after them is dead. I'm not dead!"

He is not, though his character's death in Lifetime's "How to Murder Your Husband: The Nancy Brophy Story" (Saturday at 8 p.m.) is at the crux of this true-crime tale. Cybill Shepherd stars as Brophy, a self-published romance-novel author in Portland, Oregon, who in June, at 72, was sentenced to life in prison for the 2018 killing of her spouse, Daniel Brophy. Much has been made of her 2011 blog post "How to Murder Your Husband," but the judge ruled it inadmissible at trial, and in any case, the tongue-in-cheek essay speaks in generalities and ends with the author deciding "it is easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them."

The real-life slaying, however, "is just such an odd story about a woman who loses her grip on reality," Guttenberg, 64, says by phone during a visit to New York from his homes in California and Arizona. "And I think it's very relatable because today so many people are having money problems and that creates real issues. And sometimes when they go into real financial stress, people panic and do things they wouldn't ordinarily have done."

The actor himself lived a largely stress-free early life with his late father Stanley, an NYPD officer turned engineer; mom Ann, a former surgical assistant; and two sisters, Judi and Susan. Born in Brooklyn and initially raised in its Borough Park neighborhood, he first moved with his family to Flushing, Queens, and later to North Massapequa. Steve Guttenberg attended the since-demolished Sylvia Packard Middle School before graduating from Plainedge High School in 1976.

He remembers "taking my bike to Tackapausha Pond and fishing," he says. "I remember Krisch's [Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour ] and [defense contractor] Grumman, where I would go for school trips. … And of course, bicycling up to Sagamore Hill to see Teddy Roosevelt's house, which I loved. I was a caddie at Bethpage [State] Park. I worked at Bethpage [Equestrian Center] as a muck raker and a hot walker. I had a Newsday paper route that I split with a friend of mine, Russell Remondino."

Despite appearances, Guttenberg has worked steadily since his 1980s heyday, including a recurring role as Dr. Katman on ABC's "The Goldbergs," most recently on Wednesday's episode. His breaks, sometimes lasting a couple years or more, included time spent in Arizona to help care for his ailing father, who died July 11 at age 89, and his mother, who has battled breast cancer for years. He has written a book about his caregiver experience, which Post Hill Press will publish, he expects, next year; a memoir, "The Guttenberg Bible," came out in 2012.

His 1988 marriage to model-actor Denise Bixler ended in divorce in 1992. Guttenberg wed former local TV news reporter Emily Smith in January 2019.

"I really kind of stepped away" from acting, he says, "but I'm looking forward to getting back into it."

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