Orson Bean: The Man Who Inspired Andrew Breitbart’s Turn from the Left

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Actor Orson Bean, Andrew Breitbart’s father-in-law, was struck by two cars and killed on Friday in Los Angeles as he was crossing the street. He was 91.

Breitbart credited Bean with opening his mind to conservative ideas, telling a story of how the veteran actor convinced him to listen to conservative talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh.

From Breitbart’s book Righteous Indignation:

Not only was I attracted to Susie, I was attracted to Orson’s wit and depth of knowledge of everything. This guy had appeared on the Tonight Show couch seventh most of any guest. His opinion mattered to me.

One day I asked him why he had Rush Limbaugh’s book The Way Things Ought to Be on his shelf. I asked him, Why would you have a book by this guy?”

And Orson said, “Have you ever listened to him?”

I said yes, off course, even though never had. I was convinced to the core of my being that rushlimbaugh was a nazi, anti-black, anti Jewish and anti all things decent.

Without berating me for disagree with with this, Orson simply suggested that I listen to him again.

Breitbart continues his story of how he listened to Limbaugh on the radio and grew to love his wit, humor, and character when analyzing the news, which started his journey toward conservatism. Breitbart admitted that while he had hoped to prove Bean wrong after listening to Limbaugh, he failed.

“I swallowed hard and conceded to Orson that he was right,” he wrote.

Breitbart also thanks Bean and his wife Alley Mills in his book:

To Orson and Ally: Two of the more important role models in my life. Orson, you’ve taught me how to mix the magic formula of truth, conviction, humor, and point of view. Let’s see how it works out! Ally, your compassion and decency are an inspiration. You have done more to make our extended family gel than anyone else. Your and Orson’s prayers do not go unnoticed. Thanks for putting in a good word with the Big Guy.

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