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"Leading Ladies" at Forest Lawn; Nancy Reagan's legacy.

With all the press coverage of the late Nancy Reagan, so much debate has surrounded her undeniably checkered legacy. Even Hillary Clinton's recent mischaracterization of the late Reagans' stance on the plight of AIDS sufferers (admittedly, a gross whitewashing of history if there ever was one, even when framed within the context of a sanitized eulogy) has set many political hearts afire, and reopened old wounds.

President Reagan first mentioned AIDS publicly on Sept. 17, 1985 -- and that was only in response to a question at a press conference. Roughly 5,000 Americans had died of the disease by then, and many more would soon follow -- including Richard Amsel less than two months later.

David Byrd has a darkly humorous story about how he acquired Amsel's TV GUIDE portrait of Nancy Reagan -- one which I hope to share at some point. For now, however, my aim in mentioning the Amsel piece here is not to "celebrate" the late Mrs. Reagan (at least within a political context), but rather remind people that the TV GUIDE portrait is still available for sale. David's held onto it for all these years, and I simply wanted to help him get the word out.

(Anyone interested in buying the illustration may contact David Byrd through his website.)

Speaking of David and Amsel, Forest Lawn Museum has an exhibit, "LEADING LADIES from FANTASY to REALITY", that's closing March 27th. This includes a number of David's portraits of prominent women, as well as Amsel's original Reagan portrait. Be sure to check it out while you can!


1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale, CA 91205

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