Michael Reagan's long-awaited autobiog- raphy, "On the Outside Looking In," is coming out in early March but reportedly will be a far cry from the "Daddy Dearest" tell-all initially touted.
For one thing, the younger Reagan had "some therapeutic help" about being molested by a camp counselor when he was a child, as his spokesman put it, both before and during the writing process. For another, before the final version ever goes to press, "daddy" -- President Reagan -- will have read it, according to spokesman Dale Olson of Los Angeles.
Bought by Zebra Books for an undisclosed sum at auction last January, the book Michael Reagan wrote with longtime friend Joe Hyams, the former syndicated Hollywood columnist, originally was scheduled for publication in November.
"But it really didn't work well. It was factual but too narrative, not really interesting reading," Olson said yesterday.
Michael Reagan's book proposal made headlines last winter when reports of what it contained spread throughout the New York publishing world. His literary agent, Scott Meredith, said at the time that Michael, the adopted son of Reagan and his first wife, actress Jane Wyman, had not discussed the book with his parents or stepmother Nancy Reagan because he felt they would disapprove.
Meredith later confirmed that one especially sensitive episode in the book was Michael's heretofore untold story of having been molested as a child and that he had never told his parents about it.
"It is absolutely true that he was molested as a child, that his parents did not know and that he suffered privately about it for 35 years," Olson said. "But the manner in which he is talking about that is not the manner which the press initially thought."
Olson said that when Michael Reagan finally came to grips with the problem through therapy, the book became "almost a catharsis for him."
Olson described the book as being about his client's youth "and his perceptions today of the problems he went through as both an adopted son and also as the son of two famous people, and how he hopes he can help other people growing up in similar situations."
Jody Powell, the former Jimmy Carter spokesman who now heads Ogilvy & Mather Public Affairs here, has recruited two other former White House spokesmen for his growing fiefdom. One is Jennefer Hirshberg, who once spoke for Nancy Reagan, and the other Dale Leibach, who was an assistant press secretary to Powell in the Carter White House.
Hirshberg, currently with the Office of Management and Budget, will leave there in late January to become senior vice president in charge of Ogilvy & Mather's corporate strategic communications. Powell said yesterday that the position is a new one and brings to three the number of senior vice presidents on his staff of 50.
At OMB, where she went after her six-month stint as Nancy Reagan's press secretary, Hirshberg has been assistant director for communications and public liaison, "responsible for developing communications and public affairs strategies for the President's management initiatives and fiscal policies," according to an Ogilvy & Mather announcement. "Hirshberg also directed OMB's communications with Executive Branch agencies, the general public, special interest and other groups."
Before joining the executive branch, Hirshberg was with the Federal Trade Commission, Bendix Automation, Gray and Co. public relations, Glendale College and the now-defunct Washington Star.
Powell said he heard through Ogilvy & Mather's New York headquarters that Hirshberg was thinking of making a move after the first of the year. He had not yet begun to look for candidates "actively," and once it became apparent that Hirshberg was "a real enough possibility I didn't pursue other people ... I knew of her but did not know her personally. What we do is almost entirely public affairs work, representing public policy, and I've tried on the whole to find people with experience in that area. If they had some agency experience that helped, too. Jennefer had both."
Powell said he plans to restructure the Washington office, which has doubled in staff in the past year, with a management council that will include Hirshberg and the two other senior vice presidents, Marcia Silverman and Steve Rabin. In addition, Powell said the firm will expand into an area of "aggressive" corporate counseling. He said that coincident with Hirshberg's joining the staff will be the addition of a new corporate client.
Leibach was press secretary and later adviser to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) before joining Ogilvy & Mather recently. In addition to his White House experience, he also acted as communications director for a federal regulatory agency.
Slaving over a hot gridiron is just part of it. Washington Redskins also cook. If we are to believe the newest in celebrity cookbooks, titled "Cooking With the Skins," R.C. Thielemann, Mel Kaufman, Keith Griffin and former teammate are wearing chef's hats when they aren't wearing helmets.
President and Mrs. Reagan found a copy under their White House Christmas tree last week, left there by the S. Clauses, better known in Washington, perhaps, as Attorney General Edwin Meese III and his wife Ursula, who is on the board of the Multiple Sclerosis Society's National Capital Chapter, beneficiary of the book.
The collection of recipes from 'Skins players and coaches, plus a number of "name" fans, is selling for $12.95 at area Hecht Co. stores. The society is also handling mail orders for $14.70 (including postage) through its offices at 2021 K St. NW.