Where's the Rest of Me?
Astrology for Adults
Astrology for Teens
Astrology for Parents of Children and Teenagers
President Reagan, asked at his May 17 press conference if he believed in astrology, replied: “I’ve not tied my life to it, but I won’t answer the question the other way because I don’t know enough about it to say is there something to it or not.” In the unkind sense that there are few topics outside of show business about which Reagan knows enough to have sound opinions, his answer may have been truthful, but in any ordinary interpretation his reply was deceptive. There is ample documentation for the President’s long-standing enthusiasm for astrology.
Reagan’s autobiography, Where’s the Rest of Me?, was published in 1965 when he was running for governor of California. “One of our good friends is Carroll Righter,” he declares in a passage on astrology, “who has a syndicated column on astrology. Every morning Nancy and I turn to see what he has to say about people of our respective birth signs.”
Reagan had just been offered a lucrative chance to do a nightclub act in Las Vegas. His horoscope read: “This is a day to listen to the advice of experts.” Reagan cut out the horoscope, took it to his studio bosses, and asked: “Are you guys experts?” They assured him they were. Reagan accepted their advice, and opened in Vegas at the Last Frontier.
I…put together several minutes of (hopefully) funny monologue…. [I got laughs talking] about type-casting, my yen to be a “ricky-tick” floor show fellow, and my background of benefits in which I always introduced other acts because I couldn’t sing or dance myself.
We had a wonderfully successful two weeks, with a sellout every night and offers from the Waldorf in New York and top clubs from Miami to Chicago.
Until his death last April 30, Righter was the nation’s most famous astrologer. Time put him on its cover (March 21, 1969) for a six-page feature on “Astrology and the New Cult of the Occult.” Formerly a Philadelphia lawyer, Righter moved to Los Angeles where for almost half a century he was the top astrologer for hundreds of Hollywood stars. Among his clients Time listed Marlene Dietrich, Susan Hayward, Robert Cummings, Tyrone Power, Van Johnson, Ronald Coleman, Peter Lawford, and Ronald Reagan. Asked if he used astrology to run California, Reagan gave one of his typically coy responses. He was no more interested in astrology, he said, than the “average man.”
The President has repeatedly denied that the stars had anything to do with his scheduling his 1967 inauguration as governor at the bizarre time of ten minutes past midnight,1 but both Righter and Sybil Leek, an astrologer who likes to call herself a “witch,” took credit for setting the time. Leek told an interviewer in 1982 that she was one of four astrologers Reagan had consulted for the most propitious moment to begin his term. “He really believes in astrology,” she added. “It guides his life.”
Henry Gris, a former UPI bureau chief in Hollywood…
This is exclusive content for subscribers only.
Try two months of unlimited access to The New York Review for just $1 a month.
Continue reading this article, and thousands more from our complete 55+ year archive, for the low introductory rate of just $1 a month.