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Reagan

The Hollywood Years

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Description

Ronald Reagan was one of the most powerful and popular American presidents. The key to understanding his political success and the remarkable likability and effortless charisma that made it possible is hidden in his early years as a Hollywood movie star.

Other biographers and Reagan in his two memoirs have skimmed over the thirty years he spent as an actor, union activist, and ladies’ man. Now, for the first time, in this highly entertaining and provocative new work, acclaimed film critic and historian Marc Eliot reveals the truth of those formative years and presents a far different and infinitely more detailed portrait of Reagan than ever before.

Based on original research and never-before-published interviews, documents, and other materials, Eliot sheds new light on Reagan’s film and television work opposite some of the most talented women of the time, including Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, and Ginger Rogers; his starlet-strewn bachelor days when his name was linked with Lana Turner and Susan Hayward; his first, rocky marriage to actress Jane Wyman and his career-making second marriage to Nancy Davis; his controversial eight years as the president of the Screen Actors Guild; his friendships with Jimmy Stewart and William Holden; his place in the “Irish Mafia” alongside Pat O’Brien, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Errol Flynn; and the crucial role of super-agent Lew Wasserman, who was instrumental in developing the persona that would prove essential to Reagan’s future as a world leader.

Set against the glamorous and often combative background of Hollywood’s celebrated Golden Age, Eliot’s biography provides an exceptionally nuanced examination of the man and uncovers the startling origins of the legend.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 04, 2008 – For 30 years, Ronald Reagan was dedicated to a film and television career. Yet Eliot (who has written bios of Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, among others) claims previous studies of the former president gloss over this influential era. “To be able to fully comprehend Reagan the man, one must also understand Reagan the actor.” With that charge, Eliot chronicles Reagan's film career, from his numerous “B” pictures, such as Girls on Probation, to the image-enhancing Knute Rockne All American, which contained Reagan's future political rallying cry: “Win one for the Gipper.” Interspersed with tales of Hollywood casting maneuvers, Eliot takes a no-holds-barred approach to Reagan's personal life, whether his numerous affairs, his rocky marriage to Jane Wyman or Nancy Davis's single-minded determination to marry him. Eliot also examines his time heading SAG, the actors' union, which proved prescient. By 1962, Reagan was out of work, reduced to giving his “Price of Freedom” speech to interested groups. His delivery at a Goldwater fund-raiser was so inspiring that it jump-started his second career, clearing the way for the “Central Casting version of what an American president should look like.” Extensively researched, this biography is an accessible and eye-opening read.
Reagan
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 09, 2008
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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