Straight From the Hart

The reported $4.1 million paid for the right to publish photographs of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's messiah/baby, Shiloh, is a prime indicator of inflation -- and a famous snap of Colorado's own Gary Hart demonstrates why.

An article on the ABC News website produced in conjunction with a segment on today's edition of Good Morning America lists huge sums paid for past celebrity images. For instance, the National Enquirer ponied up $18,000 in 1977 for the famous shot of Elvis Presley peacefully reclining in his open coffin. A decade later, in 1987, the tag for a photo of Hart, a leading candidate for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, went for a then-astronomical $75,000 thanks to the setting (a ship called the Monkey Business) and the woman sitting on his lap (pulchritudinous model Donna Rice rather than his wife). Eyeball that pricey pic here.

In a recent interview with Westword for the Message column, Hart alluded to the Monkey Business incident by noting that Christian conservatives can dismiss his own formidable religious credentials by branding him "a sinner." Brangelina have been accused of crimes against marriage, too, but not in this case: They've pledged to donate their baby-pic windfall to charity. Such an option was unavailable to Hart, since he didn't get a piece of the action. Or at least not that piece. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts