Queer Places:
Hollywood Forever Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA

Carroll Righter (February 2, 1900 – April 30, 1988) was known as the "astrologer to the stars." He wrote a syndicated daily advice column for 166 newspapers around the world and was reputed to be an advisor to Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Of all the astrologers the Reagans consulted, none was as celebrated or flamboyant as Carroll Righter. Born to a wealthy Philadelphia family in 1900, Righter experienced an epiphany at 14 when Evangeline Adams, a renowned astrologer, told him he shared her talent for reading the stars. Adams was an outsized personality in her own right. According to her acolytes, she predicted the stock market crash of 1929, along with World War II and the deaths of King Edward VII and Enrico Caruso. For many years she employed Aleister Crowley as a ghostwriter. Fortune telling in New York was a crime at the turn of the century, and Adams was arrested three times. She reportedly charmed the judges into acquitting her by reading their horoscopes. Adams was also in a closeted relationship with the educator and suffragist Emma Viola Sheridan Fry, a fact that may have impressed young Righter who was then discovering his own homosexuality.

Righter, who liked to be called the "gregarious Aquarius,' began doing charts for Hollywood notables in 1938 and became a columnist in 1950. Prior to that, he was a lawyer in Philadelphia. Righter was mentioned in President Reagan's 1965 autobiography Where's The Rest of Me? and, according to former White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan, Mrs. Reagan turned to astrologers to help determine the president's schedule.[1] Asked specifically whether he believed in astrology, President Reagan said, "I don't guide my life by it" but he added, "I don't know enough about it to say, is there something to it or not...and I don't mean to offend anyone who does believe in it, or engages in it."[2] When Righter was asked in 1985 if he consulted with Ronald Reagan on astrology, he replied, "No comment."[3] A gay man, Righter built much of his influence through close relationships with leading Hollywood women. Righter claimed he warned Marlene Dietrich to avoid working on a studio set one day because she might get hurt. His advice was not heeded, and Dietrich broke an ankle while reaching out to save a falling child. Word of the accident and Righter's advice led other celebrities to the astrologer, ensuring his fame. Among those who sought his advice were Arlene Dahl, Rhonda Fleming, Jane Withers, Hildegard Knef, Joan Fontaine and Grace Kelly.[4] At one point in the late 1930s, the then-young Robert Mitchum worked as a ghost writer for Righter. Righter wrote several books, including Astrology and You, the Astrological Guide to Health and Diet, and the Astrological Guide to Marriage and Family Relations.[5]

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