Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampic, Illinois on February 6, 1911.
His family was poor. His father was an alcoholic and was often unemployed.
When he was young he worked as a life guard for seven summers. In that time he made 77 rescues. He worked seven days a week and often twelve hours a day.
Reagan was 6' 1" tall and weighed about 185.
He attended Eureka College in California. He just had average grades.
Ronald Reagan was a Democrat in his early years. He later switched parties and ran for Governor and President as a Republican. The first time he voted was for Eisenhower/Nixon election in 1952.
Reagan was afraid of flying. He would rather have taken a train. When he ran for president, he flew on planes but didn't like it.
Reagan was one of three presidents who majored in economics while is college. George H. Bush and Gerald Ford were the others.
Ronald Reagan announced Chicago Cubs games for WHO radio in Des Moines. Later he became a famous movie and television actor. Reagan appeared in 53 movies. He also hosted The General Electric Theater and Death Valley Days. Both of these were popular TV shows.
In 1954, his acting career was doing badly so he took a job in Las Vegas as a comic for a few weeks.
Reagan was in the military during WWII.
He married Nancy Davis on March 4, 1952. William Holden was the best man at their wedding. Nancy was his second wife. Ronald Reagan was the only divorced man to become president.
He was the president of the Actors Guild. A union for people in the movie business.
Reagan was governor of California for two terms. He was 55 years old when he ran for governor in 1966. He won the election by over a million votes.
Reagan was the only president that was president of a union.
He enjoyed reading the comics in the newspaper.
At 73, he was the oldest person ever elected president. (This was his election to his second term.) He was 69 when elected the first time. He turned 70 seventeen days after he took office.
His nickname was "the Gipper." It came from a famous football movie. In the movie, Reagan said "Save one for the Gipper." His wife called him "Ronnie."
President Reagan always worked in a coat and tie when he worked in the White House. He did that in respect for the presidency. He cleaned off his desk at the end of each work day.
He loved watching movies. H went to Camp David on 183 weekends and usually watched to movies each weekend plus the ones he watched in the White House.
Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans. He was sometimes referred to as the "Jelly Bean Man." Some say that the sale of jelly beans increased while he was president. For his presidential inauguration in 1981, he made sure his favorite sugary sweets made an appearance. Three and a half tons of Jelly Belly beans were shipped to the White House for the event.
Reagan's Vice President was George Bush (1981-1989). He temporary transferred the powers of the president to George Bush while he had surgery for cancer.
President Reagan was the oldest president in history; he was just shy of his 78th birthday on leaving office.
Reagan asked the American people to "dream heroic dreams."
Reagan was the only professional actor to be elected President.
Reagan's would-be assassin, John Hinkley wanted to assassinate the President to impress actress Jodie Foster. After the assassination attempt he was put in a mental institution. (For more information see the page on the attempted assassination of President Reagan.)
After John Hinkley tried to kill him, former sportscaster Dutch Reagan, said to his wife: "Honey, I forgot to duck."
He was the first president to wear a bullet proof vest.
Ronald Reagan was the only president that was wounded in an assassination attempt and survived.
A young boy gave Reagan a goldfish which Reagan kept in a fish tank which had the presidential seal on it.
Franklin Roosevelt was one of Reagan favorite presidents.
He was the first president to wear a hearing aid. He also was the third president to wear contact lenses. (Johnson and Ford also wore contacts.
In 1983, the greatest disaster of Reagan presidency occurred in Lebanon. Reagan had sent US Marines to Lebanon as part of an multi-nation military group. On October 23, 1983 a terrorist set off a car bomb at the building where the Marines were housed. The bomb exploded with a force 12,000 pounds of TNT which was the largest non-nuclear blast on record. 241 Marines were killed. More than any single battle in Vietnam. 107 Marines were injured. The president and the American people were devastated.
Ronald Reagan was President during the Grenada Invasion, 1983
President Reagan was the first President to appoint a female Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor.
During the first year of his presidency Reagan only traveled to Canada. In the next seven years he traveled to 25 nations and to the Vatican.
In the 1984 election he had the largest electoral landside in U.S. history. He carried 49 states for 525 electoral votes to Mondale's 10 electoral votes. Mondale only carried Minnesota, his home state, by 1% of the vote. Mondale also won the District of Columbia.
Ronald Reagan was the only President to have been divorced. He was also one of three Presidents who had adopted children.
In 1986, he signed the legislation making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday.
One of his most famous speeches was at the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987. He demanded "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
President Reagan also referred to the Soviet Union as "an evil empire."
In 1987 Reagan an Soviet Union President, Gobachev signed the first treaty in history to reduce nuclear weapons.
He was the first president to submit a trillion dollar budget to congress.
He became the first U.S. president to address Japan's legislature.
Reagan's Secretary of Labor, Raymond Donovan, was the first sitting cabinet member in history to be indicted.
President Ronald Reagan was twice named "Man of the Year" by Time Magazine.
Ronald loved to ride horses and tend his ranch. He had a King Charles Spaniel named Rex. (He spent 345 days of his presidency on his ranch.)
President Reagan appointed more federal judges than any president in history. He also had a higher percentage of appointments than any president except Franklin Roosevelt.
When Ronald Reagan left office he had the highest approval rating since Franklin Roosevelt was president.
George Bush shed a tear when Reagan was leaving after Bush's inauguration. They were good friends.
Reagan's presidential library is on a mountain top in Simi Valley, California. It cost $57 million to build. Five presidents were present (A First) at the dedication on November 4, 1991.
In his retirement years he was diagnosed as having Alzheimer's Disease.
President Ronald Reagan died on June 6, 2004. He was 93 at the time of his death.
When asked what kind of governor he would by Reagan said "I don't know, I've never played a governor."
"I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." ( At the time some people were questioning if he was too old to be president. This quote he used in a debate closed the issue.)