Flicking through 'I Told You So: Gore Vidal Talks Politics' (2013) you will find a great many gems and goodies. All the trappings of a life well lived, the witticism and erudition on full show for Vidalophiles. Here's an amusing swipe at Ronald Reagan:
Q: Did you know Reagan in Hollywood?
A: Yes and no. I’ve been at functions with him a dozen times. Hollywood is a very small place; he was active in television and I was active in television. In ’59, I was casting The Best Man and MCA offered us Reagan to play the good guy, an Adlai Stevenson sort of presidential candidate. I said I just didn’t think that Reagan would be very convincing as a presidential candidate. Instead we hired Melvyn Douglas. As a result Douglas’ career was totally revived, he won every prize in sight and was a star from then on to his death. Reagan by then had nothing, he was by that time a host on that TV program.
Q: So if Reagan had been cast in the lead of The Best Man –
A: Melvyn Douglas would have become President – a very good President. And Ron today would probably be touring in Paint Your Wagon.