TV anchor Anne Pressly bashed after George Bush film role (12/11/08)
Chris Ayres, Los Angeles | October 23, 2008, The Australian.
A TELEVISION news anchor who had a cameo role in Oliver Stone's new George W. Bush
biopic, W., has been found beaten almost to death in her Arkansas home - only hours after
going to the cinema to see the film for the first time.
Detectives said they were baffled by the motive for the attack on Anne Pressly, 26, a popular
face to viewers of KATV in Bill Clinton's home state. She was in a critical but stable
condition yesterday, although her prospects of a full recovery remained unclear.
Detectives are now trying to establish whether Ms Pressly was the target of a random home
invasion robbery - a source of much dread to many Americans after some recent high-profile
cases - or an attack by a stalker, a fellow filmgoer, or someone who knows her.
In W. - a satirical take on Mr Bush's life and presidency by one of the most liberal US film-
makers - Ms Pressly plays a conservative TV commentator who praises the US leader's
infamously premature "Mission Accomplished" speech, delivered on a US aircraft carrier
after the invasion of Iraq.
"It is possible it's something other than robbery," police spokeswoman Cassandra Davis told
Asked whether Ms Pressly might have been targeted because of her occupation, Ms Davis
said police were talking to station employees to determine if the newsreader "has had any
problems". Ms Davis would not discuss specifics.
Ms Pressly was found bloodied and unconscious by her mother at 4.30am on Monday, 30
minutes before she was due on the set of Daybreak, a morning TV show on the ABC
network's affiliate station in Little Rock. The news anchor, who had failed to respond to one
of her mother's routine wake-up calls, was still bleeding badly from the head. Her handbag
was missing. The police initially said Ms Pressly had been stabbed and suffered "severe
However, it was later established her injuries were inflicted by a blunt object, used in an
attack to the head and upper body.
The night before the attack, Ms Pressly had dined at a restaurant with a friend, Mallory
Hardin, before going to see W. with other friends. Later she exchanged text messages with Ms
Hardin, saying she was delighted with her brief performance in the film.
"If there's one person that doesn't have an enemy, it is Anne Pressly," Ms Hardin told the
NBC Today show.
Ms Pressly won her role in W. after travelling to Shreveport, Louisiana - where much of the
film was shot - to work on a story about the region's thriving film industry. Stone's casting
director noticed her and offered her a walk-on part. According to KATV, Ms Pressly's most
notable journalistic achievement was an interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney - a figure
also satirised by Stone.