Culture

Despite Lost Gigs, Pat Boone Has ‘No Regrets’ as Conservative in Hollywood

Singer Pat Boone poses next to old records at his offices in Beverly Hills, Calif., on April 24, 2007. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

WASHINGTON – Singer and actor Pat Boone revealed that thousands of conservatives in Hollywood often meet together in secret “without fear” of losing their jobs and told PJM he has “no regrets” about his own conservative activism as an entertainer.

Boone, 83, said he noticed a decline in the number of invitations he received to events in Hollywood after publicly identifying himself as a conservative Republican and supporter of Ronald Reagan.

According to some media reports from last year, the “quiet” conservative organization Friends of Abe had dissolved with the intention of holding less centralized events; Boone told PJM the group is still growing with more than 2,000 members whose identities would “surprise” the public.

“It’s been a great relief because most of the things I had to make excuses for not coming; I mean, I didn’t want to go to a lot of the events that were taking place and I’ve long since lost interest in just the standard movie premiere, I can watch it on Netflix or when it comes around or I can go to the theater. They all begin to after a while seem to be very much alike and people show up not to see the film but to be seen themselves, and I say I don’t need that anymore,” Boone said during an exclusive interview at the recent Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference.

“If it’s parties and if it’s functions where a lot of liberal views are going to be expressed, well, I’ve heard them and I don’t need to hear anymore. And so if it’s really sort of a liberal event I just make my excuses even if I’m invited, which in most cases I’m not, but there are some conservative events that I do make it my business to go to,” he added. “And you remember FOA, Gary Sinise and others founded the Friends of Abe, a quiet conservative group amongst entertainers in the entertainment industry. It started out with 30 or 40 people when I first became involved and now it’s over 2,000 people, directors, producers, musicians, actors, writers, people that would surprise you – and, of course, for that reason we don’t usually mention them.”

Boone said several meetings have been held at the ranch of billionaire David Murdock with as many as 2,000 people in an evening.

“They’re all conservatives and they can talk freely about what they believe about what’s happening in the government and so on without fear of losing their jobs by Monday, you know, because that is a possibility, a likelihood actually, in the entertainment industry – makeup people who say, ‘you know, I don’t dare talk to people I’m working on in the makeup chair if I’m a conservative because I may lose my job so I just keep my political views to myself.’ It’s too bad,” Boone said. “It’s well-known that if you’re a conservative you better keep your opinions to yourself.”

Boone said there was a change in the number of roles he was offered in films when people in the entertainment industry started becoming aware of his conservative views on public policy issues.

“The first time that I realized it was costing me was a long time ago and Robert Wise was doing a film called ‘The Sand Pebbles’ and I was very, at that moment, hot as a singer/actor and would have been perfect to play the young lieutenant that eventually went to Steve McQueen,” he said.

Boone recalled his agent reminding Wise that Boone already had “several big box office films” under his belt and that he was the perfect age and looked the part of the lieutenant in “The Sand Pebbles.” Boone remembered Wise telling his agent that he didn’t want Boone in the film because he was too conservative. He said six-term Screen Actors Guild president Ronald Reagan was treated differently in Hollywood and that entertainers such as Frank Sinatra only supported Reagan publicly after he won his first gubernatorial election in California and became popular in office.

“What’s that got to do with the movie? It didn’t have anything to do with the movie. And so I realized that there were people in the business that were well-known and respected but were not getting work anymore because of their conservative views. And of course Ronald Reagan was absolutely written out of the entertainment business though he’d been very successful until he ran for governor, and then he was a laughingstock, I mean, this actor, he’s running against Pat Brown – it’s not going to happen and many of his entertainer friends just would not even come out to support him,” Boone said.

“There were three of us who came out originally because I knew him well: it was me, Piper Laurie, Wendell Corey, the Western actor, and Victor Jury. It was Jury Laurie, Corey and Boone, it sounded like a bad law firm, and we all came out for Ronald Reagan and as the election campaign went along, you know, he grew and grew until he was elected. When he was up for re-election and became a very popular governor, all of the entertainers, Sinatra, Dean Martin and everybody said, ‘Oh, we were always for our buddy’ – even John Wayne had not come out for Reagan in his first campaign,” he recalled.

Looking back on his career, Boone said he does not regret being an outspoken conservative in Hollywood.

“No, no, I am always going to just say what I believe, not in a way that makes me seem that I’m condemning you for not agreeing with me, but I just like the free exchange of views. I’m willing to talk about it openly with anybody, even those who disagree totally with me, as long as we keep it civil,” he said.

Boone has planned a visit to Israel for a “Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land” event next year.

Boone said he hopes Trump eventually follows through on his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Many Republicans were hoping Trump would make the announcement during his recent trip to Israel.

“I’m not upset, no, because he expressed his desire that it happen. Now, of course he’ll have people, like [Harry] Truman did, people say, ‘wait a minute boss, you know, you don’t want to do this, that and other considerations’ and he’s a deal maker and he has to pick his spots and see what he can actually accomplish, what he doesn’t think he can, what he has to give up to get, I mean that’s what dealmakers do. He’s a businessman,” said Boone, who referred to Trump as a friend.

“I do believe he is coming to know biblical things better and that he is being instructed and taught about God’s feelings about Israel and wants to be in sync with God even if the nations of the world rage. As I think the second Psalms says, ‘why do the nation’s rage and come against God and his promises?’ Well, it’s because they are worldly and don’t know what God’s plans for the world are and they’re revealed in the Bible, His book and because, of course, that’s what I read through every year because I feel like if I’m going to be a wise person I’ve got to go to the greatest source of wisdom,” he said.

Boone described himself as “devoted” to Israel’s best interests.

“Every time when I read through the Bible, every year, I see and learn different things and more things than I ever had before. So there is no end to the wisdom in the Bible and you keep learning from it. So, yeah I’m utterly devoted to Israel, I wrote the words to the second Jewish national anthem, ‘this land is mine, God gave this land to me.’ I wrote those words as an expression of what I do believe and what that melody, I think, was saying already,” he said. “He will bless us if we bless Israel. If we won’t bless Israel, if we come against Israel’s best interest, we’re on the wrong side.”