Nancy Reagan
Former first lady of the United States
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Nancy was born in New York City; her parents divorced soon after her birth and she grew up in Maryland, living with an aunt and uncle while her mother pursued acting jobs.
Nancy Reagan's personal information overview.
News abour Nancy Reagan from around the web
When Your Freshman Tells You She Wants To Take A Year Off College
Huffington Post - 18 days
My college freshman’s announcement could not have been a greater knee-clip. And it happened right about the time Tom Brady woke up and began playing football in the second half of Sunday’s Super Bowl LI. “Mom,” she began, “I think I want to take next year off.” I took a sip of my now politically-correct-to-drink Budweiser and tried to keep my heart in my chest. “Off from what?” I asked with feigned innocence, hoping this conversation was about soccer or babysitting or dog-walking or pretty much anything else under the sun besides attending college.  Sophie had come home for the weekend from her university, about an hour’s drive away. She’s there on a generous merit aid grant bolstered by hard-won scholarships. But it’s been a difficult year. On top of all the adjustments that come with living away from home for the first time, she watched her Dad grow increasingly ill. He died over her winter break, taken from all of us way too soon. Truth is, our lives have been pr ...
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Huffington Post article
Most popular Yahoo News photo galleries of 2016
Yahoo News - about 2 months
The countdown of photo galleries that our Yahoo readers liked the best this year! _____ No. 1 The 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, red carpet and parties No. 2 9/11: Then and now – 15 years later No. 3 Nancy Reagan: A look back No. 4 Newspapers around the world react to Donald Trump’s victory No. 5 Deadly attacks in Brussels, Belgium No. 6 World reaction to Trump’s stunning victory No. 7 Winter Storm Jonas No. 8 Deadly attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport No. 9 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires ravage Gatlinburg, Tenn. No. ...
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Yahoo News article
America mourns heroes, rock icons and sporting legends in 2016
Yahoo News - 2 months
By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States lost some literal and figurative pioneers in 2016 with the deaths of famed sons and daughters from John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, to Gwen Ifill, the first black woman to co-anchor a major U.S. television newscast. The year also saw the deaths of stars of sports, the arts and politics, including former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and golfing great Arnold Palmer, rock star Prince and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Like former first lady Nancy Reagan and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "To Kill a Mockingbird," Harper Lee, who also died this year, Glenn was part of the generation that lived through the deprivations of the Great Depression and the hardships of World War Two.
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Yahoo News article
Author William Novak Says Laughter Is The Best Holiday Gift
Huffington Post - 2 months
William Novak has co-authored the memoirs of Nancy Reagan, Magic Johnson, Oliver North, and Tip O'Neill. His co-written Lee Iacocca book broke sales records and triggered a revolution in non-fiction. These days, Bill Novak has turned his attention from celebrities to the lighter side of life. The release of his latest book -- Die Laughing: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks -- gave us a chance to talk about one of our favorite subjects, laughter. Q) Have you always told jokes? A) I would love to tell you that I was one of the class clowns, but I wasn't. I was the guy who really appreciated the class clowns and wanted to be their friend. I just loved to laugh. I adored MAD Magazine as a kid. I was crazy about Saturday Night Live, especially in the early years. And I loved the comedians on Ed Sullivan. Of course I'm hardly unique in this respect. Most of us love to laugh. Q) Were jokes better back then? A) We seem to be losing jokes from our national culture. Today's comedi ...
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Huffington Post article
There's Only Been One Other Divorced President In History Before Trump
Huffington Post - 4 months
Much has been made over Donald Trump’s multiple marriages: The nation’s 45th president-elect ― and a noted “traditional marriage” advocate ― has been married to third wife Melania Knauss since 2005, but was divorced twice before that. His first marriage to Ivana Zelnickova lasted from 1977 to 1992, reportedly ending in a $25 million settlement for Ivana. He was married to second wife Marla Maples from 1993 to 1999. He has children with all three women. Trump created a media firestorm when he left Ivana for Maples in the early ‘90s ― and in typical fashion, he was all too willing to comment on it.  “When a man leaves a woman, especially when it was perceived that he has left for a piece of ass—a good one!—there are 50 percent of the population who will love the woman who was left,” he was quoted as saying in Vanity Fair in September 1990. While Trump will be the first president to have multiple failed marriages under his belt, he won’t be America’s first divorced preside ...
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Huffington Post article
Killing Reagan: A Film in Need of Life Support
Huffington Post - 4 months
Sunday night, I found myself in the crosshairs of the long-awaited Killing Reagan, and, well, I was not exactly slain. That was not due to any preconceived political ideas about Reagan. Frankly, now trapped in the political hospice called the Trump and Hillary room, even a passing revisit of Reagan's life, albeit at his nadir, swept in a momentary breath of optimism. The inspiration for this biopic was the book by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, another in the Killing Series page-turners; this one is a fairly effective work, as was their earlier attempt, Killing Kennedy. The O'Reilly-Dugard formula is to collect the lesser-known facts of history --usually about someone slain, or in the case of Reagan, nearly assassinated --and to weave a new narrative, from the melodramatic, even salacious details. As someone under the same microscope of biopic filmmaking (, I applaud O'Reilly for convincing a general audience to watch anything about history beyond the his ...
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Huffington Post article
The Washington Legacy of James Galanos
NYTimes - 4 months
How the designer and the first lady Nancy Reagan worked together to create a memorable political image, and what we can learn.
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NYTimes article
Emails Show Clinton's Response to LGBT Backlash
abc News - 4 months
Hillary Clinton's aides fretted over how to respond to backlash from the gay community after Clinton praised former first lady Nancy Reagan for starting a "national conversation" about AIDS in the 1980s
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abc News article
LADY IN RED; The Incredibly Talented CYNTHIA NIXON Suits Up In Scarlet For KILLING REAGAN!
Huffington Post - 4 months
An entire nation literally divided over mixed feelings toward former president Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, both very well-known for bringing extreme conservatism back into the White House, there's one thing that's pretty much unanimous when it comes to the character of this couple- they are certainly complex individuals. A former movie star that had made it into the role of Commander and Chief, and a woman known for extreme poise while still often appalling the public for her spendthrift behavior, Ronald and Nancy, if nothing else, were heavily multifaceted people- and that requires the finest of actors to play them, and Killing Reagan has found just the perfect caliber of talent to fill those roles. While the extremely acclaimed and versatile Tim Matheson takes on the former President in a performance critics are already raving about, the unbelievably gifted Cynthia Nixon is cast as Nancy, stealing scenes as she usually does while bringing her nuanced excellence and i ...
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Huffington Post article
How to Be a Leader
Huffington Post - 5 months
By Martin Bjergegaard and Cosmina Popa   Introduction   1. Bystanders vs leaders The murder of Kitty Genovese on 13 March 1964 has influenced Western psychology, culture and consciousness more than anyone thought possible. Besides making nationwide headlines at the time, it sparked a whole new field of scientific research for decades to follow, it has been studied in several bestselling books (including two from 2014), and it has served as inspiration for numerous songs, movies and theatre plays. The misdeed also accelerated the implementation of the 911 emergency system, which became a reality across the United States in 1968. What was so special about this crime? With 636 murders in New York City during the year of 1964, another spilled life was sad, but hardly much of a public affair. Yes, the murder was brutal, and the victim was a pretty young woman, but that alone was far from outstanding. Kitty wasn't famous and she didn't have friends in high places. So it wa ...
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Huffington Post article
The untold story of how Nancy Reagan would have taken a bullet for her husband
Fox News - 5 months
Yes, Nancy Reagan had deep regrets: If only she had been next to Ronald Reagan as he strolled to that limousine...
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Fox News article
Presidential Events Celebrate Leaders of Yesteryear
Wall Street Journal - 5 months
Monday evening was particularly presidential. For one, the actual U.S. president was in town. Plus there were events focused on Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
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Wall Street Journal article
Reagans' personal items to be auctioned in New York - 5 months
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Furniture, jewelry and cowboy boots are among the more than 700 personal items that once belonged to U.S. President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan set for sale by...
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Cowboy boots among Reagan items up for auction - 5 months
Personal items that once belonged to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife First Lady Nancy Reagan are up for auction. Gavino Garay reports.
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Nancy Reagan
  • 2016
    Her funeral was held on March 11, 2016, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
    More Details Hide Details Representatives from ten First Families were in attendance, including former President George W. Bush and four current or former first ladies: Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Rosalynn Carter. The other such representatives were presidential children Steven Ford, Tricia Nixon Cox, Luci Baines Johnson, and Caroline Kennedy, and presidential grandchild Anne Eisenhower Flottl. Other prominent individuals in attendance included Governor of California Jerry Brown and former Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson; former House Speakers Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich; and former members of the Reagan administration, including George P. Shultz and Edwin Meese. A sizable contingency from the Hollywood entertainment industry attended as well, including Mr. T, Maria Shriver, Wayne Newton, Johnny Mathis, Anjelica Huston, John Stamos, Tom Selleck, Bo Derek, and Melissa Rivers. In all there were some 1,000 guests.
    On March 6, 2016, Reagan died at the age of 94, of congestive heart failure. On March 7, 2016, President Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation, ordering the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of Reagan's interment.
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  • 2013
    Following the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in April 2013, she said that, "The world has lost a true champion of freedom and democracy...
    More Details Hide Details Ronnie and I knew her as a dear and trusted friend, and I will miss her." Reagan was the second-longest-lived First Lady of the United States, after Bess Truman who died at the age of 97. Coincidentally, Ronald Reagan was the second-longest-lived President, trailing only Gerald Ford.
  • 2012
    She endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on May 31, 2012, explaining that her husband would have liked Romney's business background and what she called "strong principles".
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    Two months later, she endured several broken ribs, which prevented her from attending a speech given by Paul Ryan in the Reagan Presidential Library in May 2012; her spokesperson said, "Mrs. Reagan has been recovering slowly and has been adding a few appointments back on to her schedule, but was advised by her doctor today not to try and attend large events too far from home just yet."
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    She suffered a fall in March 2012.
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    Reagan hosted a 2012 Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library on September 7, 2011.
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  • 2011
    She attended the funeral of Betty Ford in Rancho Mirage, California, on July 12, 2011.
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  • 2009
    Following the death of Senator Ted Kennedy in August 2009, she said she was "terribly saddened...
    More Details Hide Details Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family... I will miss him."
    She traveled to Washington, D.C. in June 2009 to unveil a statue of her late husband in the Capitol rotunda.
    More Details Hide Details She was also on hand as President Obama signed the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act, and lunched privately with Michelle Obama. Reagan revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair that Michelle Obama had telephoned her for advice on living and entertaining in the White House.
    In March 2009, she praised President Barack Obama for reversing the ban on federally funded embryonic stem cell research.
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    In January 2009, Reagan was said to be "improving every day and starting to get out more and more."
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  • 2008
    In October 2008, Reagan was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after falling at home.
    More Details Hide Details Doctors determined that the 87-year-old had fractured her pelvis and sacrum, and could recuperate at home with a regimen of physical therapy. As a result of her mishap, medical articles were published containing information on how to prevent falls.
    NBC's Brian Williams, who attended a dinner with Reagan in mid-2008, recalled, "Mrs. Reagan's vision isn't what it always was so she was taking very halting steps as a lot of folks her age do...
    More Details Hide Details It is so important for folks in her age bracket and in her bracket of life to remain upright and captain of their own ship. She very much is captain of her own ship." As for her mental ability, Williams remarked, "She's as sharp as ever and enjoys a robust life with her friends in California, but falling is always a danger of course. She's a very stoic, hardy person full of joy and excitement for life... She is not without opinions on politics and political types these days... She is, as most of her friends described her, a pistol."
    Reagan's health and well-being became a prominent concern in 2008.
    More Details Hide Details In February, she suffered a fall at her Bel Air home and was taken to Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Doctors reported that she did not break her hip as feared, and she was released from the hospital two days later. News commentators noted that Reagan's step had slowed significantly, as the following month she walked in very slow strides with John McCain.
    Reagan hosted two 2008 Republican presidential debates at the Reagan Presidential Library, the first in May 2007 and the second in January 2008.
    More Details Hide Details While she did not participate in the discussions, she sat in the front row and listened as the men vying to become the nation's 44th president claimed to be a rightful successor to her husband. Though some speculation arose as to whether Reagan might support New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a presidential bid, nothing came of it. She formally endorsed Senator John McCain, then the presumptive Republican party nominee, for president on March 25.
  • 2007
    She attended the funeral of Lady Bird Johnson in Austin, Texas, on July 14, 2007, and three days later accepted the highest Polish distinction, the Order of the White Eagle, on behalf of Ronald Reagan at the Reagan Library.
    More Details Hide Details The Reagan Library opened the temporary exhibit "Nancy Reagan: A First Lady's Style", which displayed over eighty designer dresses belonging to her.
    In 2007, she attended the national funeral service for Gerald Ford in the Washington National Cathedral.
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  • 2005
    In 2005, Reagan was honored at a gala dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., where guests included Dick Cheney, Harry Reid, and Condoleezza Rice.
    More Details Hide Details It was her first major public appearance since her husband's funeral. Asked what her plans were, Reagan shook her head and responded, "I don't know. I'll know when I'll know. But the Reagan library is Ronnie, so that's where I spend my time."
  • 2004
    Reagan remained active in politics, particularly relating to stem cell research. Beginning in 2004, she favored what many consider to be the Democratic Party's position, and urged President George W. Bush to support federally funded embryonic stem cell research, in the hope that this science could lead to a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
    More Details Hide Details Although she failed to change the president's position, she did support his campaign for a second term.
    Ronald Reagan died in their Bel Air home on June 5, 2004.
    More Details Hide Details During the seven-day state funeral, Nancy, accompanied by her children and military escort, led the nation in mourning by keeping a strong composure, traveling from her home to the Reagan Library for a memorial service, then to Washington, D.C., where her husband's body lay in state for 34 hours prior to a national funeral service in the Washington National Cathedral. She returned to the library in California for a sunset memorial service and interment, where, overcome with emotion, she lost her composure, crying in public for the first time during the week. After accepting the folded flag, she kissed the casket and mouthed "I love you" before leaving. CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer said of Reagan during the week, "She's a very, very strong woman, even though she looks frail." She had directed the detailed planning of the funeral, including ordering all the major events and asking former President George H. W. Bush, as well as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Soviet Union Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to speak during the National Cathedral Service. She paid very close attention to the details, something she had always done in her husband's life. Betsy Bloomingdale, one of Reagan's closest friends, stated, "She looks a little frail. But she is very strong inside. She is. She has the strength. She is doing her last thing for Ronnie.
    President Reagan's death in June 2004 ended what Charlton Heston called "the greatest love affair in the history of the American Presidency."
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  • 2002
    Reagan and her husband were jointly awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on May 16, 2002, at the United States Capitol building, and were only the third President and First Lady to receive it; she accepted the medal on behalf of both of them.
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    Nancy Reagan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President George W. Bush on July 9, 2002.
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  • 1998
    In 1998, while her husband was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, Reagan told Vanity Fair, "Our relationship is very special.
    More Details Hide Details We were very much in love and still are. When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it's true. It did. I can't imagine life without him." Nancy was known for the focused and attentive look, termed "the Gaze", that she fastened upon her husband during his speeches and appearances.
  • 1994
    After President Reagan revealed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1994, she made herself his primary caregiver, and became actively involved with the National Alzheimer's Association and its affiliate, the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
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  • 1993
    President Reagan received his own Presidential Medal of Freedom in January 1993.
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  • 1992
    In 1992, the IRS determined the Reagans had failed to include some $3 million worth of fashion items between 1983 and 1988 on their tax returns; they were billed for a large amount of back taxes and interest, which was subsequently paid.
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  • 1991
    In 1991, the author Kitty Kelley wrote an unauthorized and largely uncited biography about Reagan, repeating accounts of a poor relationship with her children, and introducing rumors of alleged sexual relations with singer Frank Sinatra.
    More Details Hide Details A wide range of sources commented that Kelley's largely unsupported claims are most likely false.
  • 1989
    In 1989, the Internal Revenue Service began investigating the Reagans over allegations they owed additional tax on the gifts and loans of high-fashion clothes and jewelry to the First Lady during their time in the White House (recipients benefiting from the display of such items recognize taxable income even if they are returned).
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    In late 1989, the former First Lady established the Nancy Reagan Foundation, which aimed to continue to educate people about the dangers of substance abuse.
    More Details Hide Details The Foundation teamed with the BEST Foundation For A Drug-Free Tomorrow in 1994, and developed the Nancy Reagan Afterschool Program. She continued to travel around the United States, speaking out against drug and alcohol abuse. Her memoirs, My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan (1989), are an account of her life in the White House, commenting openly about her influence within the Reagan administration, and discussing the myths and controversies that surrounded the couple.
    Though Reagan was a controversial First Lady, 56 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of her when her husband left office on January 20, 1989, with 18 percent having an unfavorable opinion, and the balance not giving an opinion.
    More Details Hide Details Compared to fellow First Ladies when their husbands left office, Reagan's approval was higher than those of Rosalynn Carter and Hillary Clinton. However, she was less popular than Barbara Bush, and her disapproval rating was double that of Carter's. Upon leaving the White House, the couple returned to California, where they purchased a home in the wealthy East Gate Old Bel Air neighborhood of Bel Air, Los Angeles, dividing their time between Bel Air and the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara, California. Ronald and Nancy regularly attended the Bel Air Church as well. After leaving Washington, Reagan made numerous public appearances, many on behalf of her husband. She continued to reside at the Bel Air home, where she lived with her husband until he died on June 5, 2004.
  • 1988
    More discussion of her role ensued when it was revealed in 1988 that she had consulted an astrologer to assist in planning the president's schedule after the attempted assassination of her husband in 1981.
    More Details Hide Details She had a strong influence on her husband, and played a role in a few of his personnel and diplomatic decisions. The Reagans retired to their home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California in 1989. Reagan devoted most of her time to caring for her husband, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1994, until his death at the age of 93 in 2004.
  • 1987
    She chose to undergo a mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy, and the breast was removed on October 17, 1987.
    More Details Hide Details Ten days after the operation, her 99-year-old mother, Edith Luckett Davis, died in Phoenix, Arizona, leading Reagan to dub the period "a terrible month". After the surgery, more women across the country had mammograms, an example of the influence the First Lady possessed.
    In October 1987, a mammogram detected a lesion in Reagan's left breast and she was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.
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    Visiting the United States for the first time in 1987, Gorbachova irked Reagan with lectures on subjects ranging from architecture to socialism, reportedly prompting the American president's wife to quip, "Who does that dame think she is?"
    More Details Hide Details Press framing of Reagan changed from that of just helpmate and protector to someone with hidden power. As the image of her as a political interloper grew, she sought to explicitly deny that she was the power behind the throne. At the end of her time as First Lady, however, she said that her husband had not been well-served by his staff. She acknowledged her role in reaction in influencing him on personnel decisions, saying "In no way do I apologize for it." She wrote in her memoirs, "I don't think I was as bad, or as extreme in my power or my weakness, as I was depicted," but went on, "However the first lady fits in, she has a unique and important role to play in looking after her husband. And it's only natural that she'll let him know what she thinks. I always did that for Ronnie, and I always will."
    Regan became so angry with Reagan that he hung up on her during a 1987 telephone conversation.
    More Details Hide Details According to the recollections of ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson, when the President heard of this treatment, he demanded—and eventually received—Regan's resignation. Vice President George H. W. Bush is also reported to have suggested to Reagan to have Regan fired. In his 1988 memoirs, Regan wrote about Reagan's consultations with the astrologer, the first public mention of them, which resulted in embarrassment for the First Lady. Reagan later wrote, "Astrology was simply one of the ways I coped with the fear I felt after my husband almost died... Was astrology one of the reasons attempts did not occur? I don't really believe it was, but I don't really believe it wasn't." Nancy wielded a powerful influence over President Reagan. Again stemming from the assassination attempt, she strictly controlled access to the president and even occasionally attempted to influence her husband's decision making.
    Regan wanted President Reagan to address the Iran-Contra matter in early 1987 by means of a press conference, though Reagan refused to allow her husband to overexert himself due to a recent prostate surgery and astrological warnings.
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  • 1986
    On October 27, 1986, President Reagan signed a drug enforcement bill into law, which granted $1.7 billion in funding to fight the perceived crisis and ensured a mandatory minimum penalty for drug offenses.
    More Details Hide Details Although the bill was criticized, Reagan considered it a personal victory. In 1988, she became the first First Lady invited to address the United Nations General Assembly, where she spoke on international drug interdiction and trafficking laws. Critics of Reagan's efforts questioned their purpose, labelled Reagan's approach to promoting drug awareness as simplistic, and argued that the program did not address many social issues, including unemployment, poverty, and family dissolution. A number of "Just Say No" clubs and organizations remain in operation around the country.
  • 1985
    In 1985, Reagan expanded the campaign to an international level by inviting the First Ladies of various nations to the White House for a conference on drug abuse.
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  • 1982
    In 1982, Reagan was asked by a schoolgirl what to do when offered drugs; Reagan responded: "Just say no."
    More Details Hide Details The phrase proliferated in the popular culture of the 1980s, and was eventually adopted as the name of club organizations and school anti-drug programs. Reagan became actively involved by traveling more than throughout the United States and several nations, visiting drug abuse prevention programs and drug rehabilitation centers. She also appeared on television talk shows, recorded public service announcements, and wrote guest articles. She appeared in single episodes of the television drama Dynasty and the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, to underscore support for the "Just Say No" campaign, and in a rock music video, "Stop the Madness" (1985).
    The First Lady launched the "Just Say No" drug awareness campaign in 1982, which was her primary project and major initiative as first lady.
    More Details Hide Details Reagan first became aware of the need to educate young people about drugs during a 1980 campaign stop in Daytop village, New York. She remarked in 1981 that "Understanding what drugs can do to your children, understanding peer pressure and understanding why they turn to drugs is... the first step in solving the problem." Her campaign focused on drug education and informing the youth of the danger of drug abuse.
    In an attempt to deflect the criticism, she self-deprecatingly donned a baglady costume at the 1982 Gridiron Dinner and sang "Second-Hand Clothes", mimicking the song "Second-Hand Rose".
    More Details Hide Details The skit helped to restore her reputation. Reagan reflected on the criticisms in her 1989 autobiography, My Turn. Reagan describes lunching with former Democratic National Committee chairman Robert S. Strauss, wherein Strauss said to her, "When you first came to town, Nancy, I didn't like you at all. But after I got to know you, I changed my mind and said, 'She's some broad!'" Reagan responded, "Bob, based on the press reports I read then, I wouldn't have liked me either!" After the presidencies of Gerald Ford (who favored the Michigan fight song over "Hail to the Chief"), and Jimmy Carter (who dramatically reduced the formality of presidential functions), Reagan brought a Kennedy-esque glamour back into the White House. She hosted 56 state dinners over eight years. She remarked that hosting the dinners is "the easiest thing in the world. You don't have to do anything. Just have a good time and do a little business. And that's the way Washington works." The White House residence staff found Reagan demanding to work for during the preparation for the state dinners, with the First Lady overseeing every aspect of meal presentations, and sometimes requesting one dessert after another be prepared, before finally settling on one she approved of.
    Though her elegant fashions and wardrobe were hailed as a "glamorous paragon of chic", they were also controversial subjects. In 1982, she revealed that she had accepted thousands of dollars in clothing, jewelry, and other gifts, but defended her actions by stating that she had borrowed the clothes, and that they would either be returned or donated to museums, and that she was promoting the American fashion industry.
    More Details Hide Details Facing criticism, she soon said she would no longer accept such loans. While often buying her clothes, she continued to borrow and sometimes keep designer clothes throughout her time as first lady, which came to light in 1988. None of this had been included on financial disclosure forms; the non-reporting of loans under $10,000 in liability was in violation of a voluntary agreement the White House had made in 1982, while not reporting more valuable loans or clothes not returned was a possible violation of the Ethics in Government Act. Reagan expressed through her press secretary "regrets that she failed to heed counsel's advice" on disclosing them. Despite the controversy, many designers who allowed her to borrow clothing, noted that the arrangement was good for their businesses, as well as for the American fashion industry overall. In 1989, Reagan was honored at the annual gala awards dinner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, during which she received the council's lifetime achievement award. Barbara Walters said of her, "She has served every day for eight long years the word 'style.'"
  • 1981
    Reagan assumed the role of unofficial "protector" for her husband after the attempted assassination on his life in 1981.
    More Details Hide Details On March 30 of that year, President Reagan and three others were shot as they left the Washington Hilton hotel. Nancy was alerted and arrived at George Washington University Hospital, where the President was hospitalized. She recalled having seen "emergency rooms before, but I had never seen one like this – with my husband in it." She was escorted into a waiting room, and when granted access to see her husband, he quipped to her, "Honey, I forgot to duck", borrowing the defeated boxer Jack Dempsey's jest to his wife. An early example of the First Lady's protective nature occurred when Senator Strom Thurmond entered the President's hospital room that day in March, passing the Secret Service detail by claiming he was the President's "close friend", presumably to acquire media attention. Nancy was outraged and demanded he leave. While the President recuperated in the hospital, the First Lady slept with one of his shirts to be comforted by the scent. When Ronald Reagan was released from the hospital on April 12, she escorted him back to the White House.
    Reagan's wardrobe consisted of dresses, gowns, and suits made by luxury designers, including James Galanos, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta. Her white, hand-beaded, one shoulder Galanos 1981 inaugural gown was estimated to cost $10,000, while the overall price of her inaugural wardrobe was said to cost $25,000.
    More Details Hide Details She favored the color red, calling it "a picker-upper", and wore it accordingly. Her wardrobe included red so often that the fire-engine shade became known as "Reagan red". She employed two private hairdressers, who would style her hair on a regular basis in the White House. Fashion designers were pleased with the emphasis Reagan placed on clothing. Adolfo said the first lady embodied an "elegant, affluent, well-bred, chic American look", while Bill Blass commented, "I don't think there's been anyone in the White House since Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who has her flair." William Fine, president of cosmetic company Frances Denney, noted that she "stays in style, but she doesn't become trendy."
    In 1981, Reagan directed a major renovation of several White House rooms, including all of the second and third floors and rooms adjacent to the Oval Office, including the press briefing room.
    More Details Hide Details The renovation included repainting walls, refinishing floors, repairing fireplaces, and replacing antique pipes, windows, and wires. The closet in the master bedroom was converted into a beauty parlor and dressing room, and the West bedroom was made into a small gymnasium. The First Lady secured the assistance of renowned interior designer Ted Graber, popular with affluent West Coast social figures, to redecorate the family living quarters. A Chinese-pattern, handpainted wallpaper was added to the master bedroom. Family furniture was placed in the president's private study. The First Lady and her designer retrieved a number of White House antiques, which had been in storage, and placed them throughout the mansion. In addition, many of Reagan's own collectibles were put out for display, including around twenty-five Limoges Boxes, as well as some porcelain eggs and a collection of plates.
    Reagan became the First Lady of the United States when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president in January 1981.
    More Details Hide Details Early in her husband's presidency, Reagan stated her desire to create a more suitable "first home" in the White House, as the building had fallen into a state of disrepair following years of neglect. White House aide Michael Deaver described the second and third floor family residence as having "cracked plaster walls, chipped paint and beaten up floors"; rather than use government funds to renovate and redecorate, she sought private donations.
    While the President was recuperating in the hospital after the 1981 assassination attempt, Nancy Reagan wrote in her diary, "Nothing can happen to my Ronnie.
    More Details Hide Details My life would be over." In a letter to Nancy, Ronald wrote, "whatever I treasure and enjoy... all would be without meaning if I didn't have you."
    Reagan became First Lady of the United States in January 1981, following her husband's victory in the 1980 presidential election.
    More Details Hide Details She was criticized early in his first term, largely due to her decision to replace the White House china, despite it being paid for by private donations. She aimed to restore a Kennedy-esque glamour to the White House following years of lax formality, and her interest in high-end fashion garnered much attention as well as criticism. She championed recreational drug prevention causes by founding the "Just Say No" drug awareness campaign, which was considered her major initiative as First Lady.
  • 1976
    Though he lost the 1976 Republican nomination, Ronald Reagan ran again for the presidency in 1980, and succeeded in winning the nomination and election.
    More Details Hide Details During this second campaign, Nancy played a very prominent role, and her management of staff became more apparent. She arranged a meeting among feuding campaign managers John Sears and Michael Deaver, and her husband, which resulted in Deaver leaving the campaign and Sears being given full control. After the Reagan camp lost the Iowa Caucus and fell behind in New Hampshire polls, Nancy organized a second meeting and decided it was time to fire Sears and his associates; she gave Sears a copy of the press release announcing his dismissal. Her influence on her husband became particularly notable; her presence at rallies, luncheons, and receptions increased his confidence.
  • 1975
    Governor Reagan's term ended in 1975, and he did not run for a third; instead, he met with advisors to discuss a possible bid for the presidency in 1976, challenging incumbent President Gerald Ford.
    More Details Hide Details Ronald still needed to convince a reluctant Nancy before running, however. She feared for her husband's health and his career as a whole, though she felt that he was the right man for the job and eventually approved. Nancy took on a more traditional role in the campaign, holding coffees, luncheons, and talks, with senior citizens. With that, she oversaw personnel, monitored her husband's schedule, and occasionally provided press conferences. The 1976 campaign included the so-called "battle of the queens", contrasting Nancy with First Lady Betty Ford. They both spoke out over the course of the campaign on similar issues, but with different approaches. Nancy was particularly upset by the warmonger image that the Ford campaign had drawn of her husband.
    The new residence was finished just as Ronald Reagan left office in 1975, but his successor, Jerry Brown, refused to live there.
    More Details Hide Details It was sold in 1982, and California governors lived in improvised arrangements, until Brown moved into the Governor's Mansion in 2015.
  • 1967
    In 1967, Reagan was appointed by her husband to the California Arts Commission, and a year later was named Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year; in its profile, the Times labeled her "A Model First Lady".
    More Details Hide Details Her glamour, style, and youthfulness, made her a frequent subject for press photographers. As first lady, Reagan visited veterans, the elderly, and the handicapped, and worked with a number of charities. She became involved with the Foster Grandparents Program, helping to popularize it in the United States and Australia. She later expanded her work with the organization after arriving in Washington, and wrote about her experiences in her 1982 book To Love a Child. The Reagans held dinners for former POWs and Vietnam War veterans while governor and first lady.
    She first attracted controversy early in 1967, when, after four months' residence in the California Governor's Mansion in Sacramento, she moved her family into a wealthy suburb, because fire officials had labeled the mansion as a "firetrap."
    More Details Hide Details Though the Reagans leased the new house at their expense, the move was viewed as snobbish. Reagan defended her actions as being for the good of her family, a judgment with which her husband readily agreed. Friends of the family later helped support the cost of the leased house, while Reagan supervised construction of a new ranch-style governor's residence in nearby Carmichael.
  • 1958
    Their son, Ronald Prescott Reagan alias Ron Reagan, was born six years later on May 20, 1958.
    More Details Hide Details Reagan also became stepmother to Maureen Reagan (1941–2001) and Michael Reagan (born 1945), the daughter and adopted son of her husband's first marriage to Jane Wyman. Observers described Nancy and Ronald's relationship as intimate. As President and First Lady, the Reagans were reported to display their affection frequently, with one press secretary noting, "They never took each other for granted. They never stopped courting." Ronald often called Nancy "Mommy"; she called him "Ronnie".
  • 1952
    The couple's first child, Patricia Ann Reagan (better known by her professional name, Patti Davis), was born on October 21, 1952.
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    MGM released Davis from her contract in 1952; she sought a broader range of parts, but also married Reagan, keeping her professional name as Davis, and had her first child that year.
    More Details Hide Details She soon starred in the science fiction film Donovan's Brain (1953); Crowther said that Davis, playing the role of a possessed scientist's "sadly baffled wife," "walked through it all in stark confusion" in an "utterly silly" film. In her next-to-last movie, Hellcats of the Navy (1957), she played nurse Lieutenant Helen Blair, and appeared in a film for the only time with her husband, playing what one critic called "a housewife who came along for the ride." Another reviewer, however, stated that Davis plays her part satisfactorily, and "does well with what she has to work with."
    In 1952, she married Ronald Reagan, who was then president of the Screen Actors Guild.
    More Details Hide Details They had two children together. Reagan was the First Lady of California when her husband was Governor from 1967 to 1975, and she began to work with the Foster Grandparents Program.
  • 1949
    Ronald Reagan was skeptical about marriage, however, following his painful 1949 divorce from Jane Wyman, and he still saw other women. After three years of dating, he eventually proposed to Nancy in the couple's favorite booth at the Beverly Hills restaurant Chasen's. They married on March 4, 1952, in a simple ceremony designed to avoid the press, at the Little Brown Church in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details The only people in attendance were fellow actor William Holden (the best man) and his wife, actress Brenda Marshall (the matron of honor).
    During her Hollywood career, Davis dated many actors, including Clark Gable, Robert Stack, and Peter Lawford; she later called Gable the nicest of the stars she had met. On November 15, 1949, she met Ronald Reagan, who was then president of the Screen Actors Guild.
    More Details Hide Details She had noticed that her name had appeared on the Hollywood blacklist, and sought Ronald Reagan's help to maintain her employment as a guild actress in Hollywood, and for assistance in having her name removed from the list. Ronald Reagan informed her that she had been confused with another actress of the same name. The two began dating and their relationship was the subject of many gossip columns; one Hollywood press account described their nightclub-free times together as "the romance of a couple who have no vices".
    Author Garry Wills believes that Davis was underrated as an actress overall because her constrained part in Hellcats was her most widely seen performance. In addition, Davis downplayed her Hollywood goals: promotional material from MGM in 1949 said that her "greatest ambition" was to have a "successful happy marriage"; decades later, in 1975, she would say, "I was never really a career woman but one only because I hadn't found the man I wanted to marry.
    More Details Hide Details I couldn't sit around and do nothing, so I became an actress." Ronald Reagan biographer Lou Cannon nevertheless characterized her as a "reliable" and "solid" performer who held her own in performances with better-known actors. After her final film, Crash Landing (1958), Davis appeared for a brief time as a guest star in television dramas, such as the Zane Grey Theatre episode "The Long Shadow" (1961), where she played opposite Ronald Reagan, as well as Wagon Train and The Tall Man, until she retired as an actress in 1962. During her career, Davis served on the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild for nearly ten years. Decades later, Albert Brooks attempted to coax her out of acting retirement by offering her the title role opposite himself in his 1996 film Mother. She declined in order to care for her husband, and Debbie Reynolds played the part.
    After passing a screen test, she moved to California and signed a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. MGM) in 1949; she later remarked, "Joining Metro was like walking into a dream world."
    More Details Hide Details Her combination of attractive appearance—centered on her large eyes—and somewhat distant and understated manner made her hard at first for MGM to cast and publicize. Davis appeared in eleven feature films, usually typecast as a "loyal housewife", "responsible young mother", or "the steady woman". Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, Leslie Caron, and Janet Leigh were among the actresses with whom she competed for roles at MGM. Davis' film career began with small supporting roles in two films released in 1949, The Doctor and the Girl with Glenn Ford and East Side, West Side starring Barbara Stanwyck. She played a child psychiatrist in the film noir Shadow on the Wall (1950) with Ann Sothern and Zachary Scott; her performance was called "beautiful and convincing" by New York Times critic A. H. Weiler. She co-starred in 1950's The Next Voice You Hear, playing a pregnant housewife who hears the voice of God from her radio. Influential reviewer Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote that "Nancy Davis is delightful as a gentle, plain, and understanding wife." In 1951, Davis appeared in Night into Morning, her favorite screen role, a study of bereavement starring Ray Milland. Crowther said that Davis "does nicely as the fiancée who is widowed herself and knows the loneliness of grief," while another noted critic, The Washington Post's Richard L. Coe, said Davis "is splendid as the understanding widow."
  • 1946
    She landed the role of Si-Tchun, a lady-in-waiting, in the 1946 Broadway musical about the Orient, Lute Song, starring Mary Martin and a pre-stardom Yul Brynner.
    More Details Hide Details The show's producer told her, "You look like you could be Chinese."
  • 1945
    She first gained a part in Pitts' 1945 road tour of Ramshackle Inn, moving to New York City.
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  • 1939
    She attended the Girls' Latin School of Chicago (describing herself as an average student), graduated in 1939, and later attended Smith College in Massachusetts, where she majored in English and drama, and graduated in 1943.
    More Details Hide Details In 1940, a young Davis had appeared as a National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis volunteer in a memorable short subject shown in movie theaters to raise donations for the crusade against polio. The Crippler featured a sinister figure spreading over playgrounds and farms, laughing over its victims, until finally dispelled by the volunteer. It was very effective in raising contributions. Following her graduation from college, Davis held jobs in Chicago as a sales clerk in Marshall Field's department store and as a nurse's aide. With the help of her mother's colleagues in theatre, including ZaSu Pitts, Walter Huston, and Spencer Tracy, she pursued a career as a professional actress.
  • 1935
    He formally adopted her in 1935, and she would always refer to him as her father.
    More Details Hide Details At the time of the adoption, her name was legally changed to Nancy Davis.
  • 1929
    In 1929, her mother married Loyal Edward Davis (1896–1982), a prominent conservative neurosurgeon who moved the family to Chicago.
    More Details Hide Details Nancy and her stepfather got along very well; she later wrote that he was "a man of great integrity who exemplified old-fashioned values."
    She was born in New York City. After her parents separated, she lived in Maryland with an aunt and uncle for some years. She moved to Chicago when her mother remarried in 1929, and later took the name Davis from her stepfather.
    More Details Hide Details As Nancy Davis, she was a Hollywood actress in the 1940s and 1950s, starring in films such as The Next Voice You Hear, Night into Morning, and Donovan's Brain.
  • 1928
    Her parents separated soon after her birth and were divorced in 1928.
    More Details Hide Details After their separation, her mother traveled the country to pursue acting jobs and Reagan was raised in Bethesda, Maryland, for six years by her aunt, Virginia Luckett, and uncle, Audley Gailbraith. Nancy later described longing for her mother during those years: "My favorite times were when Mother had a job in New York, and Aunt Virgie would take me by train to stay with her."
  • 1921
    Born on July 6, 1921.
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