Forty years ago, John Hinckley JrTo assassinate Ronald Reagan in Jodie Foster’s name It’s a testament to Foster that it never got around to defining her, writes Alexandra Pollard

h God, oh seriously, this is really starting to bother me, “an 18-year-old Jodie Foster said on the phone in 1981 to the man who had been following her.” Do you mind if I hang up? ” A few months later this man would shoot the President of the United States in a twisted attempt to win her love

Ask anyone what comes to their mind when they think of Jodie Foster, and they could mention her role as a spiky rape survivor on The Accused, for which she won her first Oscar, or as an FBI intern Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs, for which she won her second Maybe they say the home invasion thriller Panic Room or Bugsy Malone or Freaky Friday It’s a will for Foster that John Hinckley Jr did not come to define it

It all started with the taxi driver in 1975, at the age of 12, Foster played a teenage sex worker named Iris in Martin Scorsese’s unwavering exploration of urban decay Iris caught the attention of Robert De Niro’s estranged Vietnam vet Travis Bickle, who, after he Didn’t kill a presidential candidate, shoot Iris’s pimp, and be hailed as a hero Foster hated the halterneck tops and platform shoes she had to wear – “I was a tomboy who wore knee socks,” she told Vanity Fair – but it did Well worth it, The Taxi Driver was celebrated, featured frequently on lists of the best movies of all time, and kicked off Foster’s career but it was also the ignorant catalyst for a bizarre and traumatic series of events

In Hollywood a young man named John saw Hinckley Jr Alienated from his family for the first time the taxi driver, addicted to Valium and recently excluded from a neo-Nazi group for being too extremist, he would be reflected in the disturbed, disaffected protagonist of the taxi driver in the figure of the Iris and through a distorted extension Jodie Foster he would see his redemption. He started to dress like Travis Bickle, wear army clothes and boots, and keep a journal just like Travis. He was obsessed with Foster

Foster, meanwhile, left school and began studying at Yale in 1980. At a time when the public feeling about celebrities was starting to swell, she was decidedly not interested in getting known. She wanted to be normal “It wasn’t like that I had lost my childhood or would be exhausted I just had no idea what it felt like to be out of control, completely lost, with no prior experience, ”she later explained. She adopted a“ dress-the-world dress code ”, met with nonconformists, enrolled for college Piece – without knowing that Hinckley Jr had followed her to Connecticut

Foster didn’t even know John Hinckley existed until he started hand-delivering letters to her doorstep.She ignored her – he was far from the only person who sent her intense fan mail, he wrote more, he left her Dozens of poems, letters and messages, all expressing his “love” for her. When they went unanswered, he called her “Who is this?” she asked on her first phone call, which he recorded, “This is the person who’s been leaving notes in your box for two days.” Finally, Foster handed Hinckley’s letters to the dean

Women are told that if they ignore the undesirable advances made by men, they will be left alone.Most of us know that the opposite may be true, the more Foster ignored Hinckley, the more his obsession with a shot grew On New Years Eve 1981 he said, “Jodie is the only thing that matters now. All I could do in 1981 was only Jodie Foster’s sake.” He added, “I think I would rather not see her on earth than with other guys to be together ”

In March 1981, Hinckley Foster wrote a final letter in which he outlined his plan for a “historic act” that mirrored the plot of the film he was so enamored with He would try to kill the President “As you now know , I love you very much, “he began,” Jodie, I would give up this idea of ​​getting Reagan in a second, if only I could win your heart and live the rest of my life with you, be it in total darkness or whatever I will admit to you that the reason I am trying now is because I just can’t wait any longer to impress you I have to do something now so that you will understand, without a doubt, that I am doing all of this for you do ”

Hinckley never posted the letter.He left it in his hotel room, went to the Washington Hilton Hotel where President Reagan had just finished a speech, and waited.When Reagan showed up, Hinckley opened fire, firing six times in 17 seconds – but the first bullet hit White House press secretary James Brady, who would be permanently disabled and die from his injuries 33 years later, police officer Thomas Delahanty was the next victim, followed by intelligence agent Tim McCarthy, who was in the line of fire threw Hinckley to the ground and arrested, but not until the sixth and final bullet ricocheted off the President’s limo and slammed him under his arm.In all the chaos, Reagan didn’t even realize he’d been shot – until he started Coughing up blood When he arrived at George Washington University Hospital, he was minutes before his death

That afternoon, Foster hopped across campus hand in hand with her best friend. Someone called out to them: Reagan had been shot She continued through her day, her broken radio preventing further updates. It wasn’t until later that evening – when she was back in hers Arrived dormitory and the first word out of her roommate’s mouth was “John” – she found out who the attacker was. Her bubble of normality was broken

John Hinckley Jr is knocked to the ground by Secret Service agents after attempting to assassinate Ronald Reagan

In a 1982 play for Esquire, in which Foster first and last detailed the experience, she investigated the celebrity deception, “A man can buy a poster, clip it to his locker, and himself.” Imagine the smallest details of a creeping asterisk, “she wrote.” He will know her through and through. He will possess her external reality. Of course, Hinkley knew me. This on-screen woman dug into her bag of tricks and introduced herself for everyone to judge, get to know and understand could take home ”

After filming followed press conferences, meetings with Yale Bigwigs, talks with lawyers and the FBI, an encounter with a copycat stalker who gave up his plans to shoot Foster only because she was “too pretty” Reporters followed her everywhere. “They made headlines and swarmed around campus like a cavalry invasion,” she recalled in Esquire. “I couldn’t protect myself from being trampled on.” She didn’t speak to the press except to say that she intended to “resume my normal life” During the trial, Hinckley yelled “I’ll get you Foster!” When she told the court she had no relationship with him, he was found not guilty of madness on 13 charges and was incarcerated in a mental hospital (he was released in 2016 on condition that he did not contact Foster)

In a 2018 interview with Foster, Hadley Freeman of the Guardian noted, “Imagine how much self-control it would take you to survive a life like Foster’s and still be functional.” Foster isn’t just functional , She Thrives Too In the 40 years since Hinckley nearly torpedoed her life, she has won Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, and the Cecil B DeMille Award – while avoiding simple labels.None of the women she’s played could get into one Box – and neither does she. To this day she is not interested in being known

Foster accepted the Cecil B DeMille Award at the 2013 Golden Globes when the tabloids waited with bated breath for her to say she was gay and announced that she was “single” without denying herself – she had lived privately but not secretly with her ex-partner Cydney Bernard for many years – she denied the press a simple headline “I came out about a thousand years ago in the Stone Age,” she continued, “in those very quaint ones Days when a fragile young girl opened up to trusted friends, family members and co-workers, and then gradually and proudly to everyone she knew, everyone she actually met.These last few words were pointed and precise

She later added, “If you had been a public figure since childhood, if you had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal despite all odds, then maybe you too could privacy over value everything privacy One day, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it used to be ”

We’ll never know if Foster’s mantra “Privacy Above Everything” was caused by Hinckley, or if he was simply a violent endorsement of it. In this Esquire piece she spoke of him with a mixture of anger, sympathy and disgust, “It does sorry for people who mistake love for obsession and are hurt by those who confused me, “she said.” Obsession is pain and longing for something that doesn’t exist John Hinkley’s greatest crime was the confusion of love and obsession The trivialization of love is something I will never forgive him His ignorance just makes me say he misses a lot Love is blissful Obsession is pathetic, forgiving This is a lesson I’ve learned I will always be careful with people who proclaim their love for me

John Hinckley Jr is knocked to the ground by Secret Service agents after attempting to assassinate Ronald Reagan

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World News – FI – Jodie Foster and the stalker who shot the president to win her heart