- NAME: Ronald Reagan
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, U.S. President, U.S. Governor
- BIRTH DATE: February 06, 1911
- DEATH DATE: June 05, 2004
- EDUCATION: Dixon High School, Eureka College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Tampico, Illinois
- PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
- Nickname: "The Gipper"
- Nickname: "The Great Communicator"
- Full Name: Ronald Wilson Reagan
- AKA: Ronald Reagan
- Nickname: "Dutch"
Best Known For
President Ronald Reagan helped redefine the purpose of government and pressured the Soviet Union to end the Cold War. He solidified the conservative agenda for decades after his presidency.
Ronald Reagan - Re-election (2:55)
Ronald Reagan - Childhood (4:26)
Ronald Reagan - Full Biography (45:55)
During his re-election campaign Ronald Reagan faced the ever present issue of his age and the fact that he was the oldest U.S. President ever to be elected.
Learn about the childhood of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.
An inside look at the 1980 Presidential debate between then President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States was a man who people loved or hated. His detractors saw him as a front man for wealthy interests, his advocates saw him as the leader who revitalized the American economy.
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Born in Tampico, Illinois, on February 6, 1911, Ronald Reagan initially chose a career in entertainment, appearing in more than 50 films. While in Hollywood, he served as president of the Screen Actor's Guild and met his future wife, Nancy (Davis) Reagan. He served two terms as governor of California. Originally a liberal Democrat, Reagan ran for the U.S. presidency as a conservative Republican and won two terms, beginning in 1980.
"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."
"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."
"I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."
"Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."
"I became a citizen of the United States when [Reagan] was president, and he is the first president I voted for as an American citizen. He inspired me and made me even prouder to be a new American."
"[Reagan] sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world and to free the slaves of communism."
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois, to John Edward "Jack" Reagan and Nellie Wilson Reagan. His father nicknamed him "Dutch," saying he resembled "a fat little Dutchman." During Reagen's early childhood, his family lived in a series of towns, finally settling in Dixon, Illinois, in 1920, where Jack Reagan opened a shoe store. In 1928, Ronald Reagan graduated from Dixon High School, where he was an athlete and student body president and performed in school plays. During summer vacations, he worked as a lifeguard in Dixon.
Enrolling at Eureka College in Illinois on an athletic scholarship, Reagan majored in economics and sociology. There, he played football, ran track, captained the swim team, served as student council president and acted in school productions. After graduating in 1932, he found work as a radio sports announcer in Iowa.
In 1937, Reagan signed a seven-year contract with the Warner Brothers movie studio. Over the next three decades, he appeared in more than 50 films. Among his best-known roles was that of Notre Dame football star George Gipp in the 1940 biopic Knute Rockne, All American. Another notable role was in the 1942 film Kings Row, in which Reagan portrays an accident victim who wakes up to discover his legs have been amputated and cries out, "Where's the rest of me?"
In 1940, Reagan married actress Jane Wyman, with whom he had daughter Maureen and adopted a son, Michael. The couple divorced in 1948. During World War II, Reagan was disqualified from combat duty due to poor eyesight and spent his time in the Army making training films. He left the military ranked as a captain.
From 1947 to 1952, Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild. During this time, he met actress Nancy Davis, who had sought his help after she was mistakenly listed as a possible communist sympathizer on the "Hollywood blacklist." Both were immediately attracted to each other, but Reagan was skeptical of marrying again due to his painful divorce from Jane Wyman. Over time, he recognized Nancy as his kindred spirit, and they were married in 1952. The pair had two children, Patricia and Ronald.
As Reagan's film career began to plateau, he landed a job as host of the weekly television drama series The General Electric Theater, in 1954. Part of his responsibility as host was to tour the United States as a public relations representative for General Electric. It was during this time that his political views shifted from liberal to conservative; he led pro-business discussions, speaking out against excessive government regulation and wasteful spending—central themes of his future political career.
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