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December 4th, 2008 at 10:44 am

How did a confessed whore-loving, alcoholic, coked-out Hollywood agent, become the great hope of conservative America?

Pat Dollard

The answer to the question featured in this post’s title is revealed by Evan Wright in “Pat Dollard’s War on Hollywood,” a compelling portrait of a reckless Hollywood agent whose strange journey led him to Iraq (see picture of Pat Dollard above). The piece was first published in Vanity Fair and is now included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2008.

You can read an excerpt from the piece and you can also hear Evan Wright read from the piece at an upcoming event at the Half-King on Monday, December 8. The Half-King is located at 505 W. 23rd Street, which is just west of 10th Avenue.

Here is a brief passage from “Pat Dollard’s War on Hollywood”:

The day before Thanksgiving 2004, Pat Dollard, a Hollywood agent who represented Steven Soderbergh, sent an e-mail to just about everyone he knew containing one word: “Later.” Friends worried it was a suicide note. Dollard, forty-two, had spent nearly twenty years in the film business. On a good day he seemed little different than any other successful operator, a sort of hipper version of Entourage’s Ari Gold. But often in his turbulent career, bad days outnumbered the good. Once a rising star at William Morris, he was fired in the mid-90s for chronic absenteeism brought on by drinking and drug abuse….

But Dollard was not planning a suicide, at least not a quick one. Dressed in what he would later describe as his “scumbag hipster agent’s uniform”—Prada boots, jeans, and a black-leather jacket—he boarded a plane for New York, then Kuwait City. From there he hopped a military transport to Baghdad and embedded with U.S. Marines in order to make a “prowar documentary.” Given the decades of substance abuse, the idea of the chain-smoking, middle-aged Hollywood agent accompanying marines into battle was sort of like Keith Richards competing in an Ironman Triathlon. But Dollard thrived. “My first time in a combat zone, I felt like I had walked into some bizarre fucking ultra-expensive movie set,” he would later say. “I had this vivid clarity, like when I used to take LSD. I felt joy. I felt like I had a message from God, or whoever, that this is exactly what I should be doing with my life. I belong in war. I am a warrior.”

(image: Pat Dollard, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Photograph by Art Streiber.)

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