SHE WAS THE PRESIDENT! When Woodrow Wilson suffers a massive stroke in 1919, First Lady Edith Wilson launches a mammoth White House cover-up and runs the presidency herself—for 18 months! Think “Iron Lady” (2011). Based on the true, actual historical events. Professional Coverage: “Recommend” Dave Trottier (Author, “The Screenwriter’s Bible”)
March 1915. Recently widowed President Woodrow Wilson falls in love with Washington, D.C. widow Edith Bolling Galt. In a whirlwind courtship, Wilson proposes marriage after knowing her just three months.
Edith is a remarkable woman: attractive, smart, and determined with a commanding presence. She is also in love with Woodrow Wilson, but demurely turns down his first marriage proposal -- it is too close to his wife’s death.
Relentless in pursuit, Wilson installs a phone between Edith and the White House, invites her to White House receptions, and even lets her decode top secret messages
When Wilson is informed that an old girlfriend is rumored to be selling his love letters, he rushes to Edith and makes a clean breast of everything (well, not really everything!)
Edith comes to Woodrow’s support. She accepts his explanation and proposal of marriage. They are married in December 1915: Edith moves into the White and starts taking command.
All social appointments must now be cleared by Edith. Resenting anyone close to the president than she is, she undermines the influence, and dismissal, of all of Wilson’s trusted advisors.
After his 1916 reelection, Wilson leads the country in war. Edith supports the war effort sponsoring sewing circles and feeding sheep on the White House lawn to save manpower.
Following the Armistice, Wilson heads the American delegation at the Peace Conference where he experiences the first of many mini-strokes. Back in the U.S., he faces fierce Republican opposition to the Peace Treaty and the proposed League of Nations.
To generate support for the League, Wilson embarks on a nationwide tour cut short by another mini-stroke. Returning to Washington he suffers a major stroke leaving him a complete invalid.
Fearing a resignation will remove the incentive to recovery -- and aided by Wilson physician Dr. Cary Grayson-- Edith initiates a White House cover-up of the president’s disability. A senate “smelling committee” is deceived in a carefully orchestrated meeting where Wilson -- high on drugs -- appears to be in control.
The cover-up is amazingly successful. Wilson spends his days in a wheelchair, watching silent films and ranting about running for a third term. Edith process all the Presidential correspondence, referring them to the Cabinet, with instructions presumably given by the president. Wilson’s rubber signature stamp is used effectively by Edith.
Edith manages this charade from October 1919 until March 1921. Incredible, but true! Wilson leaves office but never fully recovers; he dies in 1924. Edith becomes the guardian of the Wilson heritage and fierce defender of his place in history. She dies in 1961.
In 2007, Dr. Grayson’s records of Wilson’s stroke were released for the first time. They exposed the extent of the president’s disability.
Jim specializes in screenplays based on historical true events (including musicals), bio/pics and/or disasters. In alphabetical order:
“BOJANGLES, EUBIE AND BERT!” Three black musical legends of the past – Bert Williams, Eubie Blake and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson – relive their show business success in spite of racism and theatrical bigotry.