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Tony Ortega Breaks Down Lawrence Wright Scientology Book Excerpts

The biggest thing from a media perspective about two excerpts published in The Hollywood Reporter from Lawrence Wright‘s upcoming Scientology book is that the author was able to get a familiar behind-the-scenes source to speak on the record. From Tony Ortega‘s blog:

The shorter excerpt is about John Travolta, told through his former [Church] personal assistant, Spanky Taylor. We guess it can be told now that Spanky has helped several of us reporters over the years — our relationship with her goes back over a decade — but Wright is the first to get her to speak on the record, ever. Maybe it was his Alabama charm.

We echo Ortega’s overall sentiment that the onus is on all CoS connoisseurs to click over to THR and read both excerpts in full (the other is about Tom Cruise). The Travolta passage includes such gems as this one:

Travolta confided to the [Celebrity Center course] teacher, Sandy Kent, that he was about to audition for a television show, Welcome Back, Kotter. Kent instructed everyone to point in the direction of ABC Studios and telepathically communicate the instruction: “We want John Travolta for the part.” At the next meeting, Travolta revealed he had gotten the role of Vinnie Barbarino — the part that would soon make him famous. “My career immediately took off,” Travolta boasted in a Church publication. “Scientology put me in the big time.”

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief arrives in bookstores January 17.

[Jacket cover courtesy: Knopf]

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