First look at The Front Runner – Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart

First look at The Front Runner

(Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart.)

Hart was the early front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 when his life was shattered by allegations of an affair with Donna Rice. To this day, both Hart and Rice have denied a sexual relationship.

Perhaps they are telling the truth. Conservative icon Barry Goldwater once remarked of the liberal Hart: “You can disagree with him politically, but I have never met a man who is more honest and more moral.”

Perhaps they are not. Vanity Fair revealed in a very detailed Gail Sheehy piece in September of 1987: “A political friend of Hart’s for the last ten years says, ‘Gary was compulsive about seeking out women, sometimes for a sexual relationship, sometimes not. It was a compulsion, but it was not about sex, even if the relationship was sexual. The compulsion was to defy the rules and still have it all, on his terms.'”

Curious sidebar:

For a quarter of a century nobody knew the identity of the woman who made the anonymous tips that eventually corralled Rice at Hart’s townhouse. Wikipedia recounts the story: “In late April 1987, The Miami Herald claimed that an anonymous informant contacted the paper to relate that Hart was having an affair with a friend, provided details about the affair, and told the Herald that Hart was going to meet this person at his Washington, D.C., townhouse on May 1. As a result, a team of Herald reporters followed Donna Rice on a flight from Miami to Washington, D.C., then staked out Hart’s townhouse that evening and the next Saturday, and observed a young woman and Hart together. The Herald reporters confronted Hart on Saturday evening in an alley about his relationship with Rice. Hart replied, ‘I’m not involved in any relationship.’ and alleged that he had been set up.”

In 2014, some details about the tipster finally came to light. Those details also cast some doubt on Rice’s denials of the affair. Perhaps she never actually had a sexual relationship with Hart, but it seems that she told two girlfriends that she intended to do just that.

Gary Hart is still alive and kickin’ at 81. He was active as recently as last year, as the U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland under Barack Obama.

One thought on “First look at The Front Runner – Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart

  1. Isn’t he one of the pallbearers at the McCain funeral tomorrow too? So, yes, that’d count as being alive and kicking.

Comments are closed.