John Edward “Jack” Reagan and Nellie Wilson Reagan gave birth to Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois. His father gave him the moniker “Dutch” because he looked like “a chubby little Dutchman.” Reagan’s family moved about a lot throughout his youth, eventually landing in Dixon, Illinois, in 1920, when his father started a shoe business. Reagan graduated from Dixon High School in 1928, where he was an athlete, served as president of the student body, and acted in school plays. In addition, he worked as a lifeguard in Dixon throughout his summer holidays.
Young Reagan studied economics and sociology at Eureka College in Illinois, where he received an athletic scholarship. He participated in football, track, and swim team captaincy, served as student council president, and acted in school plays. He got work as a radio sports broadcaster in Iowa after graduating in 1932.
Ronald Reagan started his career as a radio broadcaster in the 1930s, reporting on baseball games. Due to his clear presentation and engaging voice, he created a big impression. Regan came to Hollywood in 1937 and signed a deal with Warner Brothers, and featured in more than 50 films during the following three decades. Ronald Reagan played Notre Dame football player George Gipp, one of his most notable performances. Reagan also starred in the 1942 picture Kings Row, in which he played an accident victim whose legs had been severed when he awoke.
In 1940, he married actress Jane Wyman and had a daughter, Maureen, and an adoptive son, Michael. In 1948, the couple divorced. He married actress Nancy Davis in 1952. Patricia and Ronald were the couple’s two children.
In the United States Army, he was conscripted into active duty. However, due to his bad eyesight, he was unable to serve overseas during the war. Instead, he worked in public relations, produced many propaganda films, and assisted in the War Loan campaign to collect funds for the war effort.
He was president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1947 to 1952 and again from 1959 to 1960, during which time he appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In addition, he presented the weekly television drama series “The General Electric Theater” from 1954 until 1962. During this period, he met actress Nancy Davis, who had sought his assistance after being wrongly placed on the Hollywood blacklist as a probable communist sympathizer. Both were drawn to each other right away, but Reagan was wary of marrying again after his bitter divorce with Wyman. Nevertheless, Nancy became his kindred soul over time, and they married in 1952. Patricia Ann and Ronald were the couple’s two children.
Reagan secured a role as host of the weekly television drama series The General Electric Theater in 1954 when his film career stagnated. As the host, he was responsible for touring the United States as a public relations agent for GE. His political beliefs evolved from liberal to conservative at this time. He spearheaded pro-business talks, speaking out against excessive government regulation and wasteful expenditure, which would later become major issues in his political career.
Ronald Reagan was associated with the Democratic Party when he was younger. He campaigned for Democratic politicians; however, his views shifted to the right over time, and he became a Republican in the early 1960s.
When Reagan made a well-received broadcast address for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, a famous conservative, in 1964, he catapulted himself into the national political limelight. Reagan won his first election for California two years later, defeating Democratic incumbent Edmund “Pat” Brown Sr. by over one million votes. In 1970, Reagan was re-elected to a second term.
After two failed campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 and 1976, Reagan eventually got his party’s endorsement in 1980. He beat Democrat incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the general election of that year, gaining the electoral college and over 51 percent of the popular vote. In addition, Reagan was the oldest person to be elected to the United States presidency at the time, at the age of 69. In Reagan’s inaugural address on January 20, 1981, Reagan declared that “government is not the answer to our problems; it is the issue.” Instead, he urged a period of national rebirth, hoping that America would once again be a light of hope for those who seek freedom. With expensive clothes and a contentious redecorating of the executive mansion, Ronald and Nancy Reagan also brought a new age of elegance to the White House.
Shots broke out as President Ronald Reagan and some of his aides exited the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981. Quick-thinking Secret Service officials ushered the president into his vehicle. As soon as he was in the car, aides learned he had been struck. John Hinckley Jr., his would-be assassin, also shot three other individuals, none of whom were killed. Doctors found that the gunman’s bullet entered one of the president’s lungs and just missed his heart when he arrived at the hospital. “Honey, I forgot to duck,” Reagan said later to his wife, who is known for his good humor. Reagan returned to work a few weeks after the incident.
Ronald Reagan was re-elected in November 1984 with a landslide victory over Walter Mondale and his running partner Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice-presidential candidate from a major American political party. Reagan, who said that it was “dawn again in America,” won 49 of the 50 states and 525 of the 538 electoral votes cast, the most ever won by an American presidential candidate.
Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, returned to their home in Los Angeles, California, as they left the White House in January 1989. In Simi Valley, California, the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs opened in 1991.
In a handwritten letter to the Americans in November 1994, Reagan announced that he had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He died in his Los Angeles residence on June 5, 2004, at the age of 93, making him the country’s longest-serving president at the time. Reagan was laid to rest on his presidential library in California after a state burial in Washington, D.C.