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Who is Ronald Reagan?

By J. Beam
Updated May 23, 2024
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Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, is one of America’s more legendary Presidents. Not only was Reagan the oldest man to become President at the time of his election, when he died he was the second longest-living US President behind Gerald Ford. Ronald Reagan was 69 years old when elected President in 1980, 73 years old when he was elected for another term in 1984, and lived to be 93 years old.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born 6 February 1911 in Tampica, Illinois. Prior to the roles he filled in Washington, Reagan was President of the Screen Actors Guild and a Hollywood star. Ronald Reagan starred in a number films in the late 1930s through the 1940s and also in television throughout the 1950s. His Hollywood roles have earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was also Hollywood where he met his first wife, actress Jane Wymann and his second wife who became both infamous and well-loved, future First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan.

In 1980, Reagan, who was also the thirty-third governor of California, campaigned for President of the United States for a third time. After a failed attempt the previous two elections, the third time really did prove to be a charm when he won the 1980 election. It was March of the following year, shortly after his inauguration, when John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Reagan. Shot under his left arm, just missing the heart, he was taken to the hospital to undergo surgery.

Making a full recovery from his injuries despite his age, Reagan returned to the White House and his eight-year stint in the Oval Office involved many historic issues, events and policies. Some of these included the war on drugs, the Iran-Contra Affair, The Cold War, and of course “Reaganomics,” which was the coined name for what many thought was Ronald Reagan’s unusual policy on economics.

Reagan had a way with words and displayed both eloquence and humor. His public demeanor earned him the nickname "The Great Communicator" as well as "The Teflon® President." The latter coming about because he had a way of easily and gracefully escaping what some considered to be sticky situations.

Reagan died after a decade-long bout with Alzheimer’s Disease on 5 June 2004 at 93 years of age. After Reagan’s state funeral, where hundreds of thousands mourned the loss of their former leader, he was interred in California, where the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is located. To this day, Ronald Reagan remains one of the single most popular US Presidents as determined by numerous polls.

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Discussion Comments

By CarrotIsland — On Nov 05, 2010

@dill1971: President Ronald Reagan was outside of the Hilton Washington Hotel in Washington, DC, on March 30, 1981, when he thought he heard firecracker’s going off, while getting in his limousine. All a sudden, Jerry Parr, the head of Secret Service, grabbed Reagan by the waist and hurled him inside. Reagan didn’t realize what was going on and thought Parr had broken his ribs. It wasn’t until Reagan tried to sit up that they realized he had been shot.

A man by the name John Hinckley Jr. had shot Reagan to impress the actress Jodie Foster. The bullet entered under his left arm stopping an inch from his heart. President Reagan was the first serving US President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.

John Hinckley Jr. was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sentenced to life in a mental institution.

By dill1971 — On Nov 05, 2010

What happened in the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan?

By calabama71 — On Oct 25, 2010

@DinoLeash: Nancy and Ronald Reagan consulted astrologer Joan Quigley on a day to day basis. Quigley would advise them on what days would be good, neutral or avoided. Quigley’s advice would influence President Reagan’s schedule. Reagan’s day was color-coded for his safety and success. Almost every move and decision he made was through his astrologer. This caused extreme friction and stress for Reagan’s staff. Some resigned because of this very reason.

Nancy believed that this was the best way to protect her husband.

By DinoLeash — On Oct 25, 2010

Is it true that while Reagan was in the White House, Nancy used psychic advisors?

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