Patrick Caddell, famously known as the man who helped a little- known Georgia governor Jimmy Carter achieve the presidency as Carter’s pollster, spent time in Los Angeles not only pursuing politics, but also trying his hand in the entertainment business. I was familiar with both facets of his life. Caddell passed away this weekend in his home state of South Carolina.
Like a number of people who start off in the political world, Pat had an interest in getting into movies and television. The phenomenon of political folks reaching out to mass entertainment has a long history and goes to the highest office in the land. President Franklin D. Roosevelt conceived a plot for a mystery and the movie was produced as The President’s Mystery (1936) with Roosevelt getting a screen credit.
Caddell’s greatest success in the entertainment field was as a consultant and writer for the television show West Wing from 1999 to 2002. He also performed one time as a political speaker in the background in the film, In the Line of Fire, as Secret Service agent Clint Eastwood in the foreground nervously looks for a presidential assassin.
Caddell and I appeared together on a number of political talk shows and on civic organization panels and attended political events.
My Hollywood connection to Pat during this period was his interest in turning my novel, The Mark on Eve, into a movie. We also talked about a screenplay I had a hand in about Mary Walker, a Civil War doctor who is the only woman to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Neither project panned out.
Pat was an iconoclast as he moved on from his allegiance to the Democrats to even offering advice to Donald Trump while also serving as a commentator on Fox News.
He often projected an angry demeanor because he felt the system was working against the people. He brought some of that attitude to his show business projects as well as his politics–the people deserved better.