Timed to the 100th birthday of President Ronald Reagan, How Hollywood shaped Gipper looks back at his acting ability, best/worst roles, leadership of the Screen Actors Guild and how his acting resume shaped his political ascent.
President Reagan’s Hollywood tenure helped shape his character, refine his communication skills and hone negotiating tactics that would serve him — and the country — well during his two-term presidency.
Being a familiar presence on both the big and small screen usually worked to his advantage, said Christopher C. Presley, director of professional development for the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University. “When you’ve seen an actor in so many roles, you feel like you have an intimacy with them,” Mr. Presley said.
For Reagan, acting allowed him to convey the sense of self he wanted, the one that fit the needs of a given moment.
“A trained actor knows good acting is the honest expression of themselves within a given set of circumstances,” Mr. Presley said. “A bad actor will play an idea or type, a stereotype, without even realizing it. A good actor will put themselves in the circumstance and let whatever’s unique about them come out.”