Reagan: The Hollywood Years (Paperback)
The compelling biography of an American icon's early years-as an aspiring actor, Hollywood star, and family man.
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 lies embedded in his early years as a Hollywood movie star.
Using never-before-published interviews, documents, and other materials, acclaimed writer and biographer Marc Eliot sheds new light on Reagan's film and television work opposite some of the most talented women of the time; his starlet-strewn bachelor days; his tumultuous first marriage to Jane Wyman and his career-making second marriage to Nancy Davis; his controversial eight years as the president of the Screen Actors Guild; his place in the "Irish Mafia" alongside Pat O'Brien, James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, and Errol Flynn; and his friendships with Jimmy Stewart and William Holden, as well as with 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 Golden Age, Eliot's biography provides a nuanced examination of the man and uncovers the startling origins of the legend.
"A fresh look . . . at] the genesis of Reagan's later public persona."
--"New York Times"
"Film critic and historian Marc Eliot has dug up even more about young sportscaster 'Dutch' Reagan, his journey west to Hollywood, his B-movie career . . . his relationship with super-agent Lew Wasserman, and his rocky marriage to his first wife, actresss Jane Wyman."
About the Author
Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed Cary Grant, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince, and American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. He writes for a number of publications and frequently speaks about film at universities and to film groups, and on radio and television. He lives in New York City and Woodstock, New York.
"Eliot’s book is poised to provide something interesting: a fresh look at subject matter well worth dusting off….tracing Reagan’s Screen Actors Guild role and evolving political ideology….the genesis of Reagan’s later public persona is closely charted here."
—The New York Times
"Eliot does a nuanced job charting the actor’s metamorphosis from Roosevelt liberal to fierce anti-communist conservative."
"Film critic and historian Marc Eliot has dug up even more about young sportscaster "Dutch" Reagan, his journey west to Hollywood, his b-movie career…his relationship with super agent Lew Wasserman and his rocky marriage to his first wife, actress Jane Wyman…to Reagan fans this may feel like familiar ground. Not that familiar ground isn't a comforting place to spend a few hours."
"Reagan: The Hollywood Years provides a glimpse of Reagan's life before he became a political icon."
“Many books have shown us what sort of man Ronald Reagan the politician was; this one shows how he got that way.”
"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.' .... Extensively researched, this biography is an accessible and eye-opening read."