History

Marc Eliot on Reagan in Hollywood

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At FreedomFest this July, Reason's Matt Welch spoke with Marc Eliot, author of Reagan: The Hollywood Years. The book chronicles Ronald Reagan's journey from sportscaster to actor to union president to politician.

Unlike critics who make sport of Reagan's Hollywood output (Bedtime for Bonzo, anyone?), Eliot documents how backlot politics helped transform the once-proud "New Deal Democrat" into the embodiment of Goldwater conservatism. His tenure as head of the Screen Actors Guild was punctuated by episodes such as the time when he received death threats by one of Al Capone's henchmen over a union dispute and his starring role in the negotiations that led to actors receiving residuals. And while Reagan's film career ultimately petered out, he was for a time among the highest-paid contract actors of his day.

Shot by Jim Epstein and Zach Weissmueller. Edited by Anthony L. Fisher. About 9.15 minutes.

Held each July in Las Vegas, FreedomFest is attended by around 2,000 limited-government enthusiasts and libertarians a year. Reason.tv spoke with over two dozen speakers and attendees and will be releasing interviews over the coming weeks.

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