Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Pena Story (1996)

Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

Ellen Hart Pena was a woman who seemingly had it all -- she was beautiful, a respected athlete, and the wife of a successful politician, Federico Pena -- the mayor of Denver, CO, before being named U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President Clinton. But Ellen also had a dangerous secret -- she suffered from the eating disorder bulimia, which not only came close to claiming her life, but also threatened the health of her unborn child. Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Pena Story is a made-for-TV movie that documents Ellen's struggle to conquer her eating disorder, as well as overcome the poor self-image that led her to starve herself. Ellen Hart Pena is played by Crystal Bernard, while her husband Federico is portrayed by Esai Morales; the supporting cast also includes Casey Sander and Tom Atkins.