June 5, 2004 by

Ronald Reagan


Categories: Actors, Government, Hollywood, Media, Politicians

rreagan.jpgRonald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, died on June 5 of pneumonia. He was 93.

Born in Tampico, Ill., Reagan earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology from Eureka College. He moved to Iowa after graduation to become a weekend sportscaster for WOC and WHO Radio. While covering spring training in California for the Chicago Cubs in 1937, Reagan took a screen test at Warner Bros. and landed a seven-year contract.

In his first film, “Love Is on the Air,” he played a radio announcer. This small part sparked a 20-year career in Hollywood. Reagan acted in more than 50 films, including “Kings Row,” “Bedtime for Bonzo” and “Hellcats of the Navy.” In 1940, he married actress Jane Wyman and appeared in the picture “Knute Rockne, All-American.” Playing the part of George Gipp, a legendary Notre Dame running back and Rockne’s protege, Reagan earned the nickname “The Gipper.”

During World War II, the 30-year-old Reagan volunteered for military service. A second lieutenant in the Army, he was eventually barred from combat for poor eyesight. Instead, he oversaw the loading of convoys and narrated flight training films for bomber pilots.
Reagan returned to Hollywood after the war and was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. He testified as a friendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947, and became an FBI informant, providing the names of entertainers he said were involved in Communist activities.

Reagan and Wyman divorced in 1949; he remarried three years later to actress Nancy Davis. Nancy and Ron would remain a devoted and glamorous couple for more than half a century.

Reagan changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1962, and entered the political arena as the co-chairman of the California Republicans for Barry Goldwater. His 1964 television address for the GOP presidential candidate raised $8 million. With the help of his large network of political and Hollywood connections, Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966 with 51 percent of the vote. He served two terms in office then built a national audience for his political career by broadcasting a popular, syndicated radio show.

At 69, Reagan became the oldest man ever elected president of the United States. Known as “The Great Communicator,” he served two terms in office, from 1981 to 1989, reshaped the Republican Party in his own conservative image, oversaw a period of economic growth and tripled the national debt to $3 trillion.

Reagan’s presidential tenure began with a hostage crisis in Iran and concluded with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. He sought to achieve “peace through strength” by increasing defense spending by 35 percent and calling the U.S.S.R. the “evil empire.” He again infuriated the Russians by announcing plans for “Star Wars,” an outer space missile defense system. This animosity cooled, however, when Reagan and Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev formed a relationship that lead to the signing of the first Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

On March 30, 1981, Reagan was nearly assassinated outside a Washington hotel. A drifter named John Hinckley Jr., seeking to prove his love/obsession for actress Jodie Foster, fired six shots at the president. One bullet lodged an inch from Reagan’s heart, but he recovered. The shooting also wounded a police officer, a Secret Service agent and Press Secretary James Brady.

In 1983, Reagan shocked the nation when he ordered U.S. troops to invade Grenada in response to a bloody military coup. In his second term in office, Reagan faced scandal after former aides revealed that he had authorized secret arms sales to Iran while seeking Iranian aid to gain release of American hostages held in Lebanon. He also ordered the funding of rebels fighting in Nicaragua — in violation of a congressional ban. Despite months of Iran-contra hearings, Reagan faced no legal action and left office in 1989 with the highest approval rating of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Reagan was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the Century. He received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor from Congress, and was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. His last years were spent living in seclusion, tended by his wife, as he struggled with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition he revealed to the public in 1994.

Pictures From the Reagan Presidency

Books About Reagan

53 Responses to Ronald Reagan

  1. Randy Johnson

    Ronald Reagan was my favorite President. A friend of mine wanted Mondale to win in 1984 but I knew he couldn’t beat Ronald Reagan.
    Our school held their own election which let us kids vote for either Mondale or Reagan. Reagan won at my school also.
    I wrote to Reagan after he left office. Back then I could do a pretty good impression of him. I hated to see him leave office in 1989 and I hated to hear of his death. But I can take comfort in knowing that he had a great life. He was both a movie star and a president.

  2. m

    Glad he’s dead. He should be lucky he expired under his own power; should have been hanged for war crimes several times. Reagan drank the Soviet Union under the table economically and we’re still hung over. If Eastern Europeans were asked a variant of Reagan’s 1980 question to Carter today: “Are you better off now than you were 15 years ago?” the answer would probably be NO. That’s a pretty pathetic legacy–arguably losing a plebescite to stalinism.

  3. Jimmy Grablar

    “If Eastern Europeans were asked a variant of Reagan’s 1980 question to Carter today: “Are you better off now than you were 15 years ago?” the answer would probably be NO.”
    Boy, are you full of shit.
    I’m positive you never saw any part of Eastern Europe pre-89 – nobody who had could say anything this insane.

  4. Art Doty

    If M was so confident, why didn’t he leave his name. What a coward! Before Reagan, the Soviets could have ruined us in an hour. I served in the Army during the cold war and was on the German border many times. Those that lived in the East were impoverished and a beaten people. Today they are free and we no longer face ruin from the Soviets. God Bless President Reagan and his family.

  5. tricia

    Ronald Reagan was the first president I ws old enough to vote for. I was registered democrat and switched parties after his first term. He was an excellent president and our country was so much more united under his presidency.

  6. Catherine

    Just because someone does not want to leave their name on a thread does not make their point less valid. Ronald Reagan was not the demi-god people are foolishly trying to make him out to be. He was an actor his whole life, even throughout the presidency. He could memorize a speech with the best of them, given it with vigor, and then not have the foggiest idea how to answer a question from a reporter.
    He was not even CLOSE to being a great man. Just someone who occupied the White House…I have zero respect for the man, and could care less, other than for the sake of history that he is gone….Finally gone…

  7. Margaret Buffa

    I am deeply saddened by the recent passing of former President Ronald Reagan. He was a terrific President and wonderful man. May his legacy remain with all of us forever. I am confident knowing that he is well and healed ,resting in the gentle arms of the Lord. May his family take comfort in knowing that also. After having just read the previous comments written I felt the need to respond. To those of you who wrote horrible comments about Mr Reagan may you all reflect on your own shortcomings. We as Americans and human beings were fortunate to have had a person such as Mr Reagan as the leader of our great country. May I be as forgiving toward your rude and obnoxious comments as Mr Reagan surely would have been. I am thankful for Mr Reagan having touched my life and the life of those in this country. I know that this country is a much better place because of him. To the Reagan family please ake care of yourselves and each other. Sincerely M. Buffa

  8. Farid Rushdi

    It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Ronald Reagan. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and was very familiar with the typical, selfish politican that ruled the nation’s capitol. Ronald Reagan was different. I was 24 during the election campaign of 1980. I had very conservative beliefs, but I was afraid to voice my opinions because of the intellectual “punishment” I would endure from my friends and aquaintances. Ronald Reagan brought me out of the closet; he told me that is was “O.K.” to be a conservative, that I wasn’t “mean-spirited” or “hateful” or “anit-minority.” The person I am today is a reflection of Ronald Reagan’s honesty and integrity (I must work at that, something that came easily to President Reagan).
    God Bless Ronald Reagan

  9. kimberly

    1984 was the first year I was old enough to vote in a presidential election. President Reagan got my vote and I am so proud to have helped elect him both to both terms.
    It saddens me that there are some poeple who feel it is okay to say they are glad he is dead, in what is meant to be a forum for tributes.
    He was a great man and I will always remember him that way. In his later years it must have been terrible for him to be so diminished. His mind was hurting but I hope his heart was full because he was well loved an respected by so many.

  10. jay

    You’re not going to like this. You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.
    But in this case, someone’s got to.
    Ronald Reagan was a conman. Reagan was a coward. Reagan was a killer.
    In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua
    named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except
    for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis.
    People don’t die of TB if they get some antibiotics. But Ronald Reagan,
    big hearted guy that he was, had put a lock-down embargo on medicine to
    Nicaragua because he didn’t like the government that the people there had elected.
    Ronnie grinned and cracked jokes while the young woman’s lungs filled up
    and she stopped breathing. Reagan flashed that B-movie grin while
    they buried the mother of three.

  11. Taylor

    I have always thught of regan as a hero and hope that all of you who are being so rude as to INSULT the president and i hope you all go to hell

  12. cassie archer

    ronald reagan was a great man. he did well as president and even after in helping our country.
    “My friends we did it. We werent just marking time. We made a difference. We made a city stronger, we made a city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad. Not bad at all.”
    Ronald Reagan after leaving office in 1988
    so to all of you who dislike him.. fuck you!!!
    what have you done to help this country?!?!?! nothing!!! absolutely nothing!!! ronald did more than you ever would or could do in a lifetime.
    cassie archer

  13. Starla Slocum1

    I am an 18 year old senior at Grapeland High School. This year I have taken a great interest in politics. The more interested I get the more I learn about what a great person Ronald Reagan was. He did a tremendous amount for our country. He was, in my opinion, the greatest president we ever had. I believe that America would do great to follow his lead.

  14. guitarist

    Amazing to read an anti-Reagan screed mentioning Nicaragua, of all places! Hello? Nicaragua is now a FREE COUNTRY because the USA, under Reagan’s leadership, supported the anti-communists until they could put enough pressure on the government to force elections. A lot of innocent people died in France and Germany while we were in the process of defeating the Nazis. Does anyone really believe you can defeat totalitarianism without sacrifice?

  15. Nick W

    Catherine, you who quoted you are glad to see Reagan is dead? Go to hell you (explitive) whore. Some of you, like M, if you had balls you’d show yourself. The only feelings you feel is that Ronald Wilson Reagan accomplished more in 8 years, than you pathetic bastards could dream of and never will accomplish. Kindly shut the (explitive) up. God Bless America. God Bless the soul of President Ronald Reagan.

  16. Chuck K

    I am so sick of people bashing on Reagan. He did so much for this country. He improved the standard of living throughout his presidency. He led and impressive war on drugs defended our country by increasing defense spending by 35%, he negotiated nuclear treaties with the soviets. This was something Carter never would have thought about doing. Also If Reagan was so bad like people try to make him out to be then why did he have the highest job approval rating since FDR? I think people just like to hat Reagan just like they like to hate Bush. I just don

  17. Scott Stockman

    Reagan, was an actor with the IQ slightly higher than Bush Jr. He didn’t have a clue on any issues. It’s great that he loved his wife and jelly beans, but some actually intellectual capacity would also be a good characteristic in a president. He didn’t defeat the Soviets, communism defeated itself. He only sped up the process 6 months to a year. They would have fell all by themselves. He ran the country into the ground with debt that took a decade to repay. He just got lucky that his rhetoric didn’t start a war. Mikhail Gorbachev is the real hero, not the actor.

  18. J.K. Cluin

    ronald reagan has been the best president ever. who cares if he made mistakes, he still made us laugh and have fun. reagan relaxed us. if youthink he’s stupid, say it to my face.

  19. farid rushdi

    Part of a quote from “Scott” a few posts above:
    Reagan, was an actor with the IQ slightly higher than Bush Jr. He didn’t have a clue on any issues…he didn’t defeat the Soviets, communism defeated itself… He ran the country into the ground with debt that took a decade to repay… Mikhail Gorbachev is the real hero, not the actor.
    Conservatives so love to have liberals write things like this. In 1994, America grew so weary of the Democrats and their “shame and blame” answer for our country that they threw them out of power for the first time [in the House] in almost 40 years. Today, the majority of statehouses and govenorships belong to Republicans, as well as all three branches of the elected federal government. Is there any question why? Like Scott, the Democrats only know how to call people names and question their intelligence and morals.
    Since Lyndon Johnson, there have been only two Democratic Presidents. Lyndon Johnson, elected in 1964. Since 1964, TWO Democrats. Forty-one years, two Democratic presidents. Am I making myself clear?
    Last week, Harry Reid said that it would take a “miracle” for the Democrats to retake the Senate in 2006.Thanks to Scott and his friends, the Republican party will become the majority party for decades to come. I think people like Scott have a right to say that Gorbachev was a hero; It only reaffirms the connection between Communism and Democrats that Republicans believe exist. The whole concept of massive redistribution of wealth didn’t work in the Soviet Union, yet Scott and his friends would have it here in the United States. Man, I love the 1st Ammendment!

  20. Andrew Stone

    One of the most evil men in modern history. The only thing that makes it worse is that he thought he was doing good. But when you’re directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people for the sole reason that those people supported and elected a government ideologically at odds with our own, you become human scum, regardless of what you thought you were doing.
    If conservatives have such respect for freedom and democracy, why do they so vehemently defend a man who sought to overthrow a democratically elected government? Nicarauga is the site of one of the worst war crimes of the past 30 years.
    My only hope is that Nancy dies a slow, horrible death in the years to come. It would be a fitting end for a woman who stood by and supported a man who was, without argument, captialism’s dark angel of death. Burn well, Ronnie.

  21. Harold

    Ronald Reagan was a great man. Very smart and funny and well dressed. One hardly noticed his hair dye. His wife Nancy was and is enchanting and beautiful. People seem to be under the impression he gave tax cuts to the rich and ignored the poor and disadvantaged. That he cared about bringing freedom to countries only when American interests (ie wealthy US owned companies) were involved. That he was often befuddled and unaware, exactly as if suffering the early stages of Alzheimer’s. That he might actually label poor migrant farm workers who had the audacity to demand fair wages “troublemakers”. People who claim these things are bald faced liars. God bless America!!! Love it or leave it!!! Liberals should burn in hell!!! Fuck you!!!!

  22. Brittany

    I’ve been researching Ronald Reagan for a school project, do all of you bashers realize how immature you seem to kids like me when we’re looking for research on him?

  23. Suneel

    Alright, I will give a balanced account of the good and the bad on Ronald Reagan:
    The good:
    1. He supposedly ended the U.S.S.R. (even though it was on the brink to begin with)
    The bad:
    1. Increased the tax burden on the poor, while reducing the tax on the rich.
    2. Point #1 caused an economic recession and an increase in poverty.
    3. Stopped environmental legislation form the 1970s to continue and progress
    4. Point #3 caused the destruction of many forests in the eastern U.S. due to acid rain from sulfur emissions that were allowed to continue.
    5. Increased the national debt by at least 80 percent.
    6. Increased CIA cocaine trafficking into the U.S., resulting in huge amounts of cocaine on the streets which he could then use to demonize the impoverished residents of the U.S.
    7. Started the pandemic of right-wing pharisee Christianity. He used “God” to destroy the poor people of America. Turned America from a progressive nation into a Saudi Arabia (It is not ENTIRELY his fault, though. He STARTED the process, and the “Saudi Arabia” of today is ALSO after almost five years of George W. Bush).
    8. Made the legal age for alcohol consumption 21 instead of 18, leading to massive arrests and the ending of otherwise bright students’ potential careers.
    9. Trained and funded Osama bin Laden. 9/11, which took over 3,000 American Civilian lives is therefore, though indirectly, his fault.
    10. Also started a new age of American Imperialism which we are going through today. In response to his “crusaders” being blown up, he attacked a peaceful country in Central America because the government was too liberal for him.
    The ugly:
    Only one point here: George W. Bush is more or less a Ronald Reagan clone. That means that the U.S. will have suffered SIXTEEN YEARS of Neoconservative policy by 2008. Ronald Reagan made the Strong economy of the United States weak, and George W. Bush will make the weak economy of the United States non-existant.
    The above are all FACTS, except for maybe “the good”. And if anyone thinks poverty or terrorism is good, they should either move to Saudi Arabia or join their beloved president in the eternal flame.

  24. Derrick Yee

    Ronald Reagan was a great president. When Ronald Reagan died, whether you miss him or not miss him?
    According to the survey most people missed Ronald Reagan while some people does not missed Ronald Reagan. The reason why some people doesn’t missed Ronald Reagan since his death is Reagan made trouble.

  25. ben

    my parents were going to move to canada when Reagan was elected, and again when he was reelected. I wish they had. When a president smiles in people’s faces while taking their money and benefits away from them, only to increase their own wealth using the people’s beliefs against them at that… well, that’s a fascist, a monger, a morally corrupt greed baron, and the people of this country are so blind to their own realities, they can’t see themselves being mugged and beaten – its a jesus thing, I guess.
    The man tripled the defecit, while 80% of all Americans saw a decrease in their income – not to mention his passion for cutting social programs at the expense of (and pay attention, this is some crazy shit) – a giant laser somewhere up there in the sky that would protect us from missle attacks… which, by the way, still doesn’t exist – If I lose $5, or forget where I spent it, I get a little pissed off… what about billions and billions sunk in to nothing?
    The man is heralded by the same people who should be cursing him for stealing their money and spitting in their faces. Ironically, so is George Bush… why do people care to the extent they do about the way other people choose to live… you know, the reason you can’t afford your xbox and your credit card is maxxed out, and you’re having trouble buying food for your kid is because you care so much about gay people getting married… so much that you’d sacrifice your own lifestyle to keep them apart. Its sickening, and when I hear someone say outloud that ronald reagan is their hero, or that george w bush is what this country needs, I bow my head in shame and wonder what screwed up world you think you actually live in.

  26. Lori

    I haven’t heard much about him, but Reagan has had his share good things and bad. I think that you should keep foul thoughts about the dead to yourself.Now I may be only in the 6th grade, but I wouldn’t talk about people who have died so terribly. Yes he has done bad things, but I am going to try to focus on any of the good things he did.Now go ahead and judge me as you wish but I am keeping my opinion.

  27. Joe

    An accomplished actor and orator during his tenure in elected office, Ronald Reagan was a nice man who performed with passion and authenticity and pleased his managers, wowing audiences all over the world. The Presidency is the greatest role one could ever play.
    We cannot and should not hold Reagan accountable for everything the neoconservatives did to bring this country to the brink of ruin, because he was never more than a cipher. What liberals and conservatives alike fail to grasp or fear to admit is that he, and George Bush, are what this country chooses to lionize. The SOUND BITE.
    Reagan was the first in a long line of sound bite actor/presidents who are TRAINED to speak and pose in a way that makes us feel good about our wasteful, empty-headed, thoughtless, overworked, clinical, instant-gratification lifestyles. Reagan and Bush today were and are spokesmen for a self-centered way of life candy-coated with feel-good statements such as family, God, community and freedom.
    Clinton wasn’t much better, but in his 8 years he brought the United States closer to financial solvency than anyone since before FDR. As a business person, the only thing I want from a president is to lower the tax burden for my children and grandchildren, and stay the hell away from legislating religious morality.
    The Presidency is the single most powerful vortex of power on the planet. I feel sorry for anyone who is so naive to think a person could rise to that position through their own merits as a leader. It has everything to do with compromise – what part of your soul are you willing to give up to have the “role?” Reagan gave up his intellect; Bush has given up his compassion. If you have any doubt, ask yourself how many trips he’s made to the homes of soldiers who have died in Iraq.

  28. Peter Friedman

    You Americans are so fucking deluded. You would eat shit if it had sugar on it. Take a trip out of your own self-centered assholes and smell what you have been shoveling to the rest of the world. People in Germany used to think Hitler was great too.

  29. Christine

    i think mr. regan was a great president. im only 18 so ive never voted yet but i have seen what all he has done for this country. i cant believe all you people are bashing on him. everyone who is, you make america look bad. he did so many things and helped alot. he will be greatly missed.

  30. john doe

    i hate reagan, i dont know why people worship him and praise him as one of the greatest presidents ever. he greatly increased the gap between the rich and the poor, which still stands strong; he’s the reason it’s almost impossible to make it without a college education. thats reason enough.

  31. Jordan

    I can’t beleave are of you guys can say such bad thing about Ronald reagan he was the best president we have ever had. he over come cancer be shot almost in the heart haveing surgery on his brain he was a great actor a radio anoucer got ride of the USSR i may be in the 8th grade but i sure do know that Ronald reagon WAS THE GREATIST PRESIDENT THAT EVER LIVED!!!!!!

  32. Mike Juneau

    Ronald Regan was an excellent president. And he’s nothing like either of the Bush’s so I really wish that all of you would stop comparing the two. ROnald Regan passed smart policies that encouraged economic development and environmental protection, such as the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, the Municipical Wastewater Treatment Construction Grant Amendments of 1981, and particularly Executive Order 12630 which protected private landowners by ensuring that federal agencies uphold the 5th amendment to the US Constitution. I hope that in 2008 we can find another Ronald Regan to elect so that we can turn this country around and save it from the disaster of George W Bush.

  33. Richard

    I am sure my comments will be considered inappropriate since they are not in favor of Ronald Reagan. But contrary to what the right wing says, I still have the constitutional right to say it.
    Reagan was a bad president who set the stage for the destruction of the United States we are experiencing today under the current administration. Reagan supported the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Central America just because it was not a conservative government. Reagan violated the law and the Constitution with the Iran/contra crap. He wanted to reclassify ketchup as a vegetable concerning the school lunches for the poor(which made the right wing “Christians” very happy) but I am certain he did not use it as such in his own home. He was clearly appalled at helping the poor, but thought it only right to increase the wealth of the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Then he had the nerve to speak of Christianity, which he obviously through his actions did not practice. He tried to destroy Social Security, and opposed workers rights to earning decent wages. It is amazing how some people still think he was great, just because of his laid back demeanor which anyone with any common sense could see right through.It is also amazing how some Reagan worshipers still cannot spell his name correctly. They must be as ignorant as he was.

  34. Sid C.

    People forget that Ronald Reagan negotiated with Iran to hold on to American until after the elections in 1980. Those hostages were held in Iran LONGER as a result of Reagan offering the terrorists weapons. All so he could look like hte victor after Carter. He was a traitor even BEFORE he was president. Anyone who supports this scumbag clearly hates Americans.

  35. Emily Scott

    I think Ronald Reagan was a great man and you should recpect him. Even though he died it doesn’t matter he’s slill one of my favorite presidents and he shuold me one of yours too!

  36. Stephan

    He was an amazing president. His reign saw the end to the USSR. Those who want to argue, might remember well that many of the Liberal Academia were still pouring honey in our ears about how great communism was during his reign. They showed us military might, and you mistook it for strength of economy.
    To anyone who’s decided to decided to wave insults at him. Remember, he’s better than you. I could point at achievements, but instead I think I’ll point at character. He had far too much class to post insults about a dead man, on a place that’s supposed to hold tributes for him. Remember what Class is? One of those things the liberals don’t seem to teach in school these days. God bless you Mr. Reagan. We could use a man like you now.

  37. Nancy

    Add this to the post above, BAD.
    Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
    AMNESTY for 2.7 million illegal aliens.
    Current estimate 12 – 20 million illegal aliens in the USA.
    The “gift” that keeps on giving.

  38. John Engelman

    George W. Bush has tried to rule like Ronald Reagan. Bush failed. Reagan could have easily been reelected to a third term. This was because Reagan had capable advisors. Reagan listened to his advisors. They ran the country while the Gipper took long naps and vacations. During the Reagan years we did not really have a President. We had a Presidential Committee. Reagan was not in charge of the Committee. He was an appealing front man who needed to be told where to put his feet and what to say. In “The Triumph of Politics” David A. Stockman described Edwin Meese as “the acting President.”
    Bush surrounds himself with cronies who he chooses for their ability to make him feel good about himself. Bush prides himself on being “the Decider.” Unfortunately, his decisions are frequently disastrous, because they are made on assumptions that he believes because he wants to, even though they are not true. Reagan would have wanted to invade Iraq. His advisors would have over ruled him. Decisions that important were made over the President’s head.

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