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Hedda Hopper's HollywoodCelebrity Gossip and American Conservatism$
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Jennifer Frost

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814728239

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814728239.001.0001

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“Malice in Wonderland”

(p.1) Introduction
Hedda Hopper's Hollywood

Jennifer Frost

NYU Press

This introductory chapter discusses Hedda Hopper's career. Hopper rose to fame as a nationally syndicated Hollywood gossip columnist. Published in eighty-five metropolitan newspapers as well as small-town dailies and weeklies in the 1940s, she had an estimated daily readership of 32 million (out of a national population of 160 million) in the mid-1950s and remained influential into the next decade. Her nasty reputation dominated her career and overshadows her historical significance. Industry participants attributed Hopper's malicious gossip to her jealousy as a failed actress toward others' success; to her strident conservatism that propelled her on political witch hunts; and to her bitter rivalry with Louella Parsons, who preceded and competed with her in the movie gossip business. The remainder of the chapter describes Hopper's determination, starting at a young age, to leave the town where she had been raised, Altoona, Pennsylvania; her theatrical and early motion picture work; and beginnings of her gossip career.

Keywords:   Hedda Hopper, Hollywood gossip columnists, conservatism, Altoona

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