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What Is Rob Lowe Doing On the Cover of Vanity Fair?

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Annie Liebovitz/Vanity Fair

No, you're not having an '80's flashback. That's Rob Lowe on the May issue of Vanity Fair, looking only slightly older than Zac Efron. In case you're rightfully wondering why the former Brat Packer is gracing a major glossy magazine -- we love him on "Parks and Rec," but when's the last time he landed a cover? -- here's the rub: Lowe has written a memoir about his life in Hollywood, and awesomely, he dishes about peers and rivals Charlie Sheen, Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze.

Here are some of Lowe's impressions:

*Cruise: "He's open, friendly, funny and has an almost robotic, bloodless focus and an intensity that I've never encountered before."

*Sheen: "One-of-a-kind ... a Polo preppy clotheshorse in a world of O.P. shorts and surf T-shirts," and "a wonderful mix of nerd ... and rebel." Quoth Lowe of those early days, "At my house we are still saving money by not buying desserts. At Charlie's house, it's never-ending Haagen-Dazs, brand-new BMWs, a lagoon pool with underwater tunnels, and a lit, professional-grade basketball half-court."

*Swayze: The late actor "makes Tom Cruise look lobotomized," recalls Lowe, describing his former "Outsiders" co-star "as cool as you want, wearing tight jeans and a tattered, sleeveless Harley-Davidson T-shirt revealing his massive, ripped arms. (This is his uniform, he never changes it, and if I looked like him, neither would I.)"

Click here to listen to Lowe read an excerpt of his memoir, titled "Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography." We think book's cover bears a strong resemblance to Andre Agassi's critically acclaimed memoir "Open." Like Agassi, Lowe stares straight ahead, gazing intently at the reader; in his new tell-all,  a sepia-toned Jesse James strikes a similar pose.

With "raw" expression and HD-style photography, it's as if these aging male celebs aim to say: "Cut the B.S. THIS IS ME." It's now a trend. And if you're Rob Lowe, you can use a book to launch a major career comeback.

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