Former white house butler shares experiences

By Dana Griffin

dgriffin@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE, RI-There's a new movie coming out next Friday. It's called 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'. It's a story of a real African–American butler in the White House. Today, a native Rhode Islander shared his experience as a butler with the man this movie is based on.

The fictional Cecil Gaines is based off the real life of Gene Allen.

For eight years, Alan DeValerio was also a White House butler, mostly during the Reagan administration. He says even in the 80's, mostly older, black men worked as White House butlers.

“Sometimes white people feel as though that's not you know, not some thing that they want to do,” said DeValerio.

But DeValerio did, and he enjoyed every minute of it. And yes, DeValerio says, there were secrets.

“Gene Allen told me a story about how, although we all know how John Kennedy was a noted philander. But he says Lyndon Johnson was actually worst, and that he had a military aid that would bring women up the back stairs, you know to the president's bedroom and then back out the back stairs again,” said DeValerio.

While the movie is based on a true story, we all know that Hollywood story-telling sometimes bends reality.

DeValerio said, “I think Oprah's personality in the movie is going to be a little bit larger than Mrs. Allen actually was.”

As DeValerio looks through his White House photos, he's happy he was there and looks forward to seeing how the movie turns out.

© 2013 WLNE-TV