'Hyde Park on Hudson' Turns FDR into Clinton-Like Lothario

The new movie "Hyde Park on Hudson" would have viewers believe President Franklin D. Roosevelt was as randy as President Bill Clinton.

Not so, say historians, worrying the new film is Hollywood's latest example of a feature film taking major liberties with the truth.

The movie casts Bill Murray as the 32nd president, a man who carried on an affair with his cousin Daisy Stuckley (played by Laura Linney). 

The Washington Post reports the romance was far from what we see on the screen.

In fact, the historian Geoffrey C. Ward, who edited Daisy Stuckley’s papers, told me that although he hasn’t seen the movie, he’s appalled by all he has read and heard about how it depicts her friendship with FDR. “His relationship with her was an extremely old-fashioned, very decorous sort of 19th century — they wrote each other letters and may have kissed once, in a car on a hilltop. It was the delight of her life to be the friend of Franklin Roosevelt.”

Another historian has trouble buying the romance peddled in the picture.

Jonathan Alter, author of “The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope,” also thinks the view of FDR as one creepy cousin is mistaken: “He loved women — liked hanging out with women and hearing their banter; the idea of him treating them as people to service him I don’t think is right.”


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