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Idol Chatter

The re-release of Warren Beatty’s 1981 film “Reds” has put the star in the usual rotation of magazines and TV interviews. My favorite so far is Premiere‘s wonderfully entrancing interview, in which the recollections of Beatty’s friends and co-workers are spliced into the q&a. At one point Beatty adds dimension to earlier comments that his strict Southern Baptist upbringing led, by a sort of whiplash effect, to his famously rampant pursuit of women as an adult. Asked why he lost his virginity at the late (in the interviewer’s judgment) age of 19, Beatty responds, “Principles. I was a sort of self-enforced Southern Baptist as a teenager, from about 13. My parents didn’t push me in that direction at all.” He adds, “That’s all I have to say on the subject, particularly today when there’s so much selling of religion.”

That not all Beatty has said on the topic of his childhood faith, of course. Religion, apparently, has motivated more than his sexual adventures. Last year, at a time when it was rumored he would run for California governor, the longtime Democratic political activist told graduating students at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, “As a Southern Baptist in Virginia, I was taught that good public policy was, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ I was taught ‘Love one another’ was the point.”

It looks like he took this as gospel, and not only in his public life.

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