In October 1’s Washington History Seminar, Steven Ross challenged the commonly held belief that Hollywood has always been a bastion of liberalism. The real story, he argued, is far more complicated. First, Hollywood has a longer history of conservatism than liberalism. Second, and most surprising, while the Hollywood Left was usually more vocal and visible, the Right had a greater impact on American political life, capturing a senate seat (Murphy), a governorship (Schwarzenegger), and the ultimate achievement, the Presidency (Reagan).
Steven J. Ross is Professor of History at the University of Southern California and co-director of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. He is the author of Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics, which won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Scholar’s Award, and Working-Class Hollywood: Silent Film and the Shaping of Class in America.
A webcast of Professor Ross’s seminar is available at Hollywood Left and Right.