Tags: Bob | Colacello: | 'From | Warhol | Reagan'

Bob Colacello: 'From Warhol to Reagan'

Saturday, 07 May 2005 12:00 AM

He gave a fascinating speech on the subject of his two biographies,

It's funny, "Andy wore a white wig versus Reagan, whose hair never turned gray," said Bob as he went on to recount touching and very personal stories from the lives of these two men. Both came from poor families – Warhol from a Pennsylvania ghetto and Reagan from a little town in Illinois – and both were young men whose families had very low expectations of them.

Bob says neither Reagan nor Warhol was taken seriously at first, citing that Warhol's obituary emphasized only his party-going and ignored his creativity, that he hadn't even been given an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in his lifetime. And Reagan was called an "amiable dunce" and a "B-movie actor" more times than he cared to remember.

Bob related how both men were very much influenced by their religious mothers. "Andy used a lot of gold leaf," he said, which was his psychological way of responding to his religious mother and all the Catholic imagery he was surrounded by as a youth.

Bob told us that out of humble beginnings came two simple men with two simple plans, a couple of very good ideas that they stuck with. And both were somewhat "anti-intellectuals"; they "liked to be underestimated and often played ignorant," to the bewilderment of their colleagues.

Of course, both men went on to achieve tremendous success in their lives – Warhol ranked with Picasso in the art world, and Reagan became one of the most popular U.S. presidents – seminal figures of the 20th century.

At this event Bob relinquished some of his coveted collection, including his prized Warhols, such as his Mick Jagger collection (the Warhols of Jagger were far ahead of their time, considering today's photography and graphic manipulations). Combining photography and art was revolutionary at the time and Warhol worshipped popular culture, while Reagan WAS popular culture. They both were "prophets of fame and celebrity."

"Think about it. We live in a Warholian age even today," said Bob, referring to the American obsession with the infamous and notorious. "Andy would have loved what's going on today, although I'm not too crazy about it." Bob admitted that he'd become disenchanted with Warhol's promiscuity (not sexual) and bowed out of his circle of friends at one point in their friendship. "I'm a real Republican – partially because it's

"I'm sure Andy would have Paris Hilton on the cover of Interview [magazine] today, but I'd advise him against it. There's something wrong with our culture when little girls admire someone like Paris, whose claim to fame is having released a porn tape. There are too many famous people now who really haven't done anything yet. It's out of control."

Amazingly, Bob did try to get Warhol and Reagan together at one point, and was almost successful. And he said two of Reagan's children, Patti and Ron, refused to grant an interview with the magazine until they discovered they'd get to meet Warhol!

He told poignant stories about his good friend Nancy Reagan – then and now – and how she would ask him, "Why does the press hate me so much?" He understood that in an age of feminism, the young female journalists just couldn't deal with a woman who was a Republican and lived by old-fashioned values. One got the impression that his admiration for this woman grows with each passing day.

At the end of Bob's speech, I said, "But, Bob, we want to hear about you!" and he laughed, saying, "I'm saving those stories for the big one." We're all looking forward to his memoirs, a future book of countless colorful anecdotes that is sure to awe and inspire generations to come, just as Bob's sensitive telling of the stories of these two great Americans is doing so today.

Bob Colacello is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, where he has written cover stories and profiles on Prince Charles, Doris Duke and Liza Minnelli, among numerous others. He is the former Executive Editor of Interview magazine and is the author of "Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up," which the New York Times praised as "by far the best book written on Warhol." He is also the author of

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He gave a fascinating speech on the subject of his two biographies, It's funny, "Andy wore a white wig versus Reagan, whose hair never turned gray," said Bob as he went on to recount touching and very personal stories from the lives of these two men. Both came from...
Bob,Colacello:,'From,Warhol,Reagan'
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2005-00-07
Saturday, 07 May 2005 12:00 AM
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