Fortune magazine called Gilbert V. Hartke one of the five most powerful men in Washington, D.C. He was at once a flamboyant showman, respected statesman, and devout Dominican priest. The day after his death in February 1986, the Washington Post mourned him with a moving editorial and a full-page obituary that declared, ""Father Hartke was a figure of legendary stature in the Washington theater community, but his influence and reputation extended far beyond..."" In this long-awaited biography, Mary Jo Santo Pietro chronicles Father Hartke's experiences and endless achievements by combining his own stories, taped weekly during the last year of his life, with stories told by friends, colleagues, and celebrities. The book offers an inside look at major theatrical and political events in the nation's capital from the 1930s through the 1980s, and also uncovers the complex and paradoxical character of the man known as the ""White House priest"" and ""Show Biz priest."" Father Hartke founded and for thirty-seven years headed the famed Speech and Drama Department at the Catholic University of America. It was the first of its kind at an American Catholic college, and it shaped dozens of Oscar, Tony, and Pulitzer prize-winning actors, directors, and playwrights. Hartke founded America's oldest classical touring company, wrote five full-length plays, directed more than seventy plays, sent nine productions to Broadway, and received numerous honorary doctorates and awards. He was a presidential envoy to several countries, a member of the first National Council on the Arts, and a leader in the campaigns to end racial discrimination in Washington's theaters, to build the Kennedy Center, and to construct the CUA theater that now bears his name.