Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan

By William E. Pemberton | Go to book overview

2
Finding Fame and Fortune in Hollywood, 1937-1966

It seemed easy in Ronald Reagan retelling, without any hint of ambition for fame or wealth. In 1937 he persuaded his radio station to send him to the Chicago Cubs' spring training camp, held on Catalina Island, near Los Angeles. He had dinner with Joy Hodges, who had worked at WHO and was vying to break into the movies. He told her about his dream of becoming an actor, and she introduced him to her agent, George Ward of the Meiklejohn Agency. Ward, who represented actors Robert Taylor and Betty Gmble, called the Warner Bros. casting director, Max Arnow, and claimed that he had a future star sitting in his office. Arnow heard similar hype several times a day, but he agreed to meet Reagan and then offered him a screen test. Despite the indignity of being told that his head looked too small, Reagan tested well and studio boss Jack L. Warner liked the result. 1

On Monday, 22 March, Reagan returned to work in Des Moines and laughingly told his WHO colleagues about his screen test. That day George Ward telegraphed, telling him that Warner Bros. Pictures had offered a seven-year contract, starting at two hundred dollars a week. Ward asked Reagan what he wanted to do. Reagan answered, SIGN BEFORE THEY CHANGE THEIR MINDS. The beaming Reagan, in a scene repeated many times in the

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Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • THE RIGHT WING IN AMERICA ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Series Editor's Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Growing Up in the Heartland, 1911-1937 3
  • 2 - Finding Fame and Fortune in Hollywood, 1937-1966 21
  • 3 - The Turn Toward Conservatism, 1947-1980 44
  • 4 - Governing California, 1967-1974 64
  • 5 - Changing the National Agenda, 1981 85
  • Managing Big Government, 1981-1985 105
  • 7 - Facing Defeats, Winning Victories, 1982-1989 125
  • 8 - Engaging the Soviets, 1981-1985 149
  • 9 - Coping with Scandal, Exiting with Honor, 1985-1989 172
  • 10 - Evaluating Reagan 198
  • Notes 215
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index 283
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