How Gloria Allred Got To Be An Absolutely Shameless Media Hound

Patty Hearst and Gloria Allred
Patty Hearst and Gloria Allred in 1979.

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Gloria Allred dropped her big October surprise this week.The news about Mitt Romney’s testimony in a divorce is a little anti-climactic, but Allred is getting tons of press nonetheless.

How does she manage to take up so much of the spotlight? Here’s a quick history of her ascent.

  • Allred, a former high school teacher, graduated from LA’s Loyola Law School when she was almost 33 years old. She went on to become a representative for the National organisation of Women, according to this New York Magazine profile.
  • She had one of her first brushes with stardom in 1979, when she was photographed walking into a press conference with Patty Hearst, arguably history’s most famous kidnapping victim.
  • Allred was relatively low on the national media radar in the 1980s. But she stepped back into the spotlight the following decade, representing a former Melrose Place star who got canned, as well as the family of Nicole Brown Simpson.
  • In the aughts, she began injecting herself into political campaigns. In 2003, Allred represented a Hollywood stuntwoman in her sexual harassment suit against Arnold Schwarzenegger, CNN reported at the time. The Terminator was still elected for governor that year.
  • During the recent Republican primaries Allred did her part to take down presidential hopeful Herman Cain before moving in on Romney during the general election.

Allred seems to have a talent for grabbing cases that will attract headlines, and a blog post today on Legal Insurrection, claims she tries to endear herself to media and politics alike.

Back in the 1990s, journalist Joel Engel was writing a piece for The New York Times about media celebrities and their “pet causes.” He got Allred on the phone by dropping the Grey Lady’s name.

Allred began chatting cheerily and said, according to Engel, “As I said, just the other day to President William Jefferson Clinton, in my private meeting with him in the Oval Office …”

It does not appear that Allred ever represented Monica Lewinsky.

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