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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan was born to Jack and Nelle Reagan on February 6, 1911 in a small apartment building in Tampico, Illinois.

Family photo including, older brother Neil, Reagan  (1916-17)

His father was a Roman Catholic of Irish descent and his mother was a Protestant of English and Scottish descent.

Ronald had an older brother, John Neil Reagan (1908–1996), who became an advertising executive.

Ronald Reagan was a lifeguard during high school and saved 77 people’s lives over seven summers.

1920s. As a teenager, in Dixon, Illinois

At Eureka College, a Christian church school in Illinois, Ronald Reagan successfully participated in sports, drama, and campus politics. He was a varsity guard on the football team and was captain of the swimming squad; he also participated in track and field.


Trying to launch a career in show business, Ronald Reagan auditioned for radio station WOC in Davenport, Iowa, by improvising play-by-play commentary for a football game. He was hired to announce the University of Iowa football games for ten dollars a game, and by the end of 1932 he became a staff announcer.

The next year Reagan was transferred to an affiliated station, WHO, in Des Moines. An announcer there until 1937, he also wrote a sports column for a newspaper. Among his duties was broadcasting Chicago Cubs baseball games from ticker tapes.

In 1940, Ronald Reagan was selected as the man with "the most nearly perfect male figure" by the University of Southern California's Division of Fine Arts.

Reagan had a successful career in Hollywood. His first screen credit was the starring role in the 1937 film Love Is on the Air. He appeared in 53 movies in total.

Ronald Reagan almost died on the set of the 1951 comedy Bedtime for Bonzo when his co-star—a chimp—strangled him by pulling on his tie.

Reagan was President of the Screen Actors Guild twice, from 1947 to 1952 and again from 1959 to 1960.

Reagan's last movie was a 1964 movie The Killers.

Throughout his movie career, his mother, Nelle, often answered much of his fan mail.


Reagan enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the cavalry on May 25, 1937.

During World War II, Reagan was separated for four years from his movie career. He was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942. Due to his poor eyesight, Reagan was classified for limited service only, which excluded him from serving overseas.

His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office.

In January 1944, Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the Sixth War Loan Drive, which campaigned for the purchase of war bonds.

Capt. Ronald Reagan at Fort Roach

Reagan was reassigned to the First Motion Picture Unit on November 14, 1944, where he remained until the end of World War II.

While with the First Motion Picture Unit in 1945, Reagan was indirectly involved in discovering Marilyn Monroe. It was he who sent out the army photographer that first discovered the actress.


Reagan first met his first wife Jane Wyman while filming Brother Rat in 1938. He asked Wyman to marry him at the Chicago Theatre.

They were married on January 20, 1940, at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather church in Glendale, California.

Reagan and Jane had two children: Michael (adopted) and Maureen Reagan.They had a third child, Christine Reagan, who was stillborn.

With wife Jane Wyman, 1942

After arguments about Reagan's political ambitions, Wyman filled for divorce in 1948. The divorce was official the following year.

Reagan was the first president of the United States to have been divorced.

In 1949, months after divorcing Wyman, Reagan met the actress Nancy Davis. She had been accidentally listed as a communist and asked Reagan in his capacity as President of the Screen Actors Guild to help her.

After Reagan helped Davis, the pair began dating. Three years later, Reagan asked Davis to marry her in Beverly Hills, California.

They were married on March 4, 1952 at the Little Brown Church in the Valley (North Hollywood, now Studio City) San Fernando Valley. Actor William Holden served as best man at the ceremony.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan on their wedding day, 1952

As Nancy Davis, she made 11 films between 1946 to 1959. Hellcats Of The Navy (1957) was her penultimate movie and the only one in which she appeared with her husband.

Reagan and Nancy had two children, Ron and Patti Reagan.

Their marriage would last until Reagan's death in 2004,


Ronald Reagan was raised as a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination, and considered himself to be a Presbyterian in the "born-again" tradition.

Reagan attended church his entire life, from the First Christian Church on S. Hennepin Avenue in Dixon, Ill. in the 1920s, to churches in Iowa in the 1930s, to varying churches in California in the mid 20th century.

When he was the governor of California Reagan generally attended Presbyterian church services at Bel-Air Presbyterian Church, though once he became president he rarely attended church. He cited security reasons.

Reagan's favorable policy towards Israel as President was very much influenced by the dispensationalism teachings of John Darby, which was all the rage in the United States in the 1980s.

He also believed that America was preordained by God to develop into the great freedom-loving, democratic nation it had become.


Ronald Reagan was very fond of Jelly Belly candies. When he became president, Reagan's passion for these jellybeans was a marketing dream, and he inspired the company to produce the blueberry flavour. As red and white colored jellybeans already existed, this meant the three colors of the American flag could be served in jellybeans at Reagan's inaugural party.

First Lady Nancy Reagan spent $200,000 on new china for the White House. She said they really needed it.

During his time at the White House Reagan had as pets Lucky, a Bouvier des Flandres dog, and Rex, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

The energetic Lucky, the President's first dog, was sent off to the Reagan Ranch after dragging Nancy Reagan across the White House lawn one too many times.

The more docile Rex replaced Lucky. Rex was treated to a lavishly decorated doghouse, which included framed portraits of Ronald and Nancy.


Reagan was very active in politics near the end of his acting career and was originally a Democrat. In 1962 he changed to the Republican party.

During the 1964 presidential election, Reagan supported Republican candidate Barry Goldwater. He made a famous speech called "A Time For Choosing" to support Goldwater In the speech Reagan spoke against government programs and high taxes.

Ronald Reagan began his career in government when he was sworn in as the 33rd Governor of California on January 2, 1967. He was the Governor of California from 1967 to 1975.

Before winning his president election in 1980, Reagan ran unsuccessfully for president two times in 1968 and in 1976.


Ronald Reagan was the American president from 1981-89. He was inaugurated, at age 69 the second oldest person elected president of the United States behind Donald Trump who was elected at age 70.

Inaugural parade (January 20, 1981).

Two months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, DC, hotel by John W. Hinckley Jnr on March 30, 1981. White House press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a District of Columbia police officer also were wounded.

John Hinckley claimed that he attempted to kill Ronald Reagan in order to impress the actress Jodie Foster.

Reagan was taken to hospital with a severe chest wound that required emergency surgery. As he was brought into the operating theater, he smiled at the surgeons and quipped "Please assure me that you are all Republicans." A surgeon who was a liberal democrat replied, "We're all Republicans today."

The Secret Service agent that saved President Reagan's life became a Secret Service agent after seeing a movie starring Ronald Reagan as a Secret Service Agent.

Ronald Reagan was 3,761 votes shy, in Minnesota, of winning every state in the 1984 Presidential Election.

Reagan is sworn in for a second term as president by Chief Justice Burger in the Capitol rotunda

Ronald and Nancy Reagan allowed the astrologer Joan Quigley to dictate the American presidential agenda, including the take-off times for Air Force One.

President Ronald Reagan signed The Tax Reform Act of 1986 backwards, writing his last name first. The action was legal, though apparently unprecedented in U.S. history.


Ronald Reagan changed his Bel Air retirement address of 666 St Cloud Street to 668.

In Los Angeles after leaving the White House, early 1990s

On November 5, 1994 Ronald Reagan published a letter to the U.S. people announcing his diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. It is not known how many of his infamous verbal mishaps when he was president were early signs of the condition.

Reagan, suffering from Alzheimer's, would clean his swimming pool for hours without knowing his agents were replenishing the leaves in the pool.

Reagan's deterioration from Alzheimer's got so bad he once took a mini ceramic White House model out of his fish tank and when asked what he thought it was he answered, "I don't know, but it's something to do with me."

Reagan died on June 5, 2004 at his Bel Air, Los Angeles home from pneumonia after a ten year battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 93 years old.

Source Compton's Encyclopedia

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