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Hollywood was t always a bastion of liberalism. Following World War II, an informal alliance of movie stars, studio moguls and Southern California business interests formed to revitalize a factionalized Republican Party. Coming together were stars such as John Wayne, Robert Taylor, George Murphy and many others, who joined studio heads Cecil B. DeMille, Louis B. Mayer, Walt Disney and Jack Warner to rebuild the Republican Party. They found support among a large group of business leaders who poured money and skills into this effort, which paid off with the election of George Murphy to the US Senate and of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to the highest office in the nation. This is an exciting story based on extensive new research that will forever change how we think of Hollywood politics.
Donald T. Critchlow is a Professor of History at Arizona State University. He has authored and edited numerous books, including The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Made Political History (2007, revised 2011); Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism (2005); and Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and the Federal Government (1999). He is currently working on a data-driven book, American Democracy Now and its Future. He is editor of the Journal of Policy History, an interdisciplinary quarterly published by Cambridge University Press, and general editor of the Cambridge Essential Histories Series.