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Nancy Reagan Biography

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Frank C. and Shan M.

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Nancy Reagan was a former First Lady of the United States. She was also an American actress and the wife of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States. She was the first lady from 1981 to 1989. She died on March 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA, at the age of 94 due to heart failure. Her funeral was held at the Reagan Library.

Reagan was born on July 6, 1921, in Flushing, New York City. She was the daughter of Kenneth Robbins, a salesman, and Edith Luckett Robbins, an actress. When she was little, Reagan’s father left the family, and Nancy’s mother sent her to be raised with Reagan’s aunt and uncle in Maryland. There, she attended Sidwell Friends School.

In 1929, Reagan’s mom married Loyal Davis. He adopted her in 1931 and she became very wealthy. She was able to attend the Girls’ Latin School and studied drama at Smith College. She earned a bachelor degree of arts in 1943.

After college, Reagan worked as a nurse’s aide. Reagan became an actor with some of her mom’s friend’s help. Her first part was a nonspeaking role in Ramshackle Inn. In 1946, she played a minor role in the musical Lute Song.

In 1949, Reagan traveled to Hollywood and quickly received a seven-year contract with MGM Studios. She played minor roles in the films The Doctor and the Girl, East Side, West Side, and Night into Morning.

Nancy Reagan was soon put on Hollywood’s blacklist, and was suspected of being a communist. She contacted Ronald Reagan, president of the Screen Actors Guild, to see if he could help. They fell in love with each other and started dating, despite Ronald Reagan being skeptical about dating her because of a divorce he went through with Jane Wyman. However, three years later, he proposed to Nancy. On March 4, 1952, they got married.

Nancy was able to act in three more films after she got married. One of these movies was Hellcats of the Navy, which was based on World War 2. In this film, both of them were actors together.

When they were done with acting, they had four children. In 1976, Mr. Reagan began his quest for presidency. Ronald lost to Gerald Ford in 1976. After he lost, he ran again in 1980 and won the election. Nancy Reagan was now the first lady of the United States.

In 1982, she started her “Just Say No” to drugs campaign. On October 1986, president Reagan signed this campaign into law. But while all of this was going on, Nancy Reagan was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 1987.

After Nancy and Ronald Reagan left the White House, she established the Nancy Reagan Foundation to help support after-school drug prevention programs. They retired in Bel-Air Los Angeles and at the “Reagan Ranch” in Santa Barbara.

In 1994 Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In 2004, he died.

In later years after President Reagan’s death, Nancy Reagan continued to bring attention to her husband’s legacy. She was rewarded with many awards and honors, such as the Order of the White Eagle from the government of Poland. In 2009, she attended when President Barack Obama signed the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act. She also wrote many books, such as My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan in 1989, I Love You Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan in 2000 and Entertaining at the White House in 2007.

On March 6, Nancy Reagan died of congestive heart failure. Her funeral was held at the Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, March 11. Many people will remember Nancy Reagan’s legacy through  her organizations and as Ronald Reagan’s wife.

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Nancy Reagan Biography