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Ronald Reagan Biography - 1911-1980

Feb. 6, 1911 Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Ill. to Nelle Wilson and John Edward (“Jack”) Reagan. The Reagans had one previous son, Neil (“Moon”) Reagan.

1920 The Reagans moved to a succession of rural northern Illinois towns until they settled in Dixon, Illinois, the place Reagan considers his hometown

1926 Beginning in 1926, Reagan was employed as a lifeguard at Lowell Park in Dixon. He was credited with saving 77 lives during the 7 summers he worked there.

1928 Reagan graduated from Dixon High School. He served as student body president and participated in football, basketball, track, and school plays.

1928-1932 Reagan attended Eureka (Illinois) College, a small liberal arts institution, and majored in economics and sociology. During his sophomore year, Reagan became interested in drama. Reagan also served as student body president. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s populist rhetoric attracted Reagan to him and later influenced Reagan’s speaking style.

1932 Reagan received a temporary sports broadcasting job with WOC, a small radio station in Davenport, Iowa. After WOC consolidated with WHO in Des Moines, “Dutch” recreated Chicago Cubs baseball games from the studio. WHO, an NBC affiliate, gave Reagan national media exposure.

1937 Reagan enlisted in the Army Reserve as a Private but was soon promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry. An agent for Warner Brothers “discovered” Reagan in Los Angeles and offered him a seven-year contract. Reagan played George Gipp in his most acclaimed film, Knute Rockne – All American (l940).

Jan 24, 1940 Reagan and Jane Wyman married. They met while making the movie, “Brother Rat.”

Jan 04 1941 Maureen was born

1942 The Army Air Force called Reagan to active duty and assigned Lieutenant Reagan to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California, where he made over 400 training films.

Jul 22 1943 The Army promoted Reagan to the rank of Captain

Dec 09 1945 The Army discharged Captain Reagan.

1945 - 1965 Reagan resumed his acting career after the war. Reagan made fifty-three motion pictures and one television movie.

Mar 18 1945 Michael was born.

1948 Reagan supported Harry Truman for President

1949 Reagan and Wyman divorced.

1950 Reagan campaigned for Helen Gahagan Douglas for the Senate.

1952 Reagan campaigned as a Democrat for Eisenhower. Reagan accepted a job as spokesman for the General Electric Company, which allowed him to tour the country giving speeches.

Mar 4 1952 Reagan and Nancy Davis wed.

Oct 21 1952 Patricia was born.

1956 Reagan campaigned as a Democrat for Eisenhower.

May 20 1958 Ronald Prescott was born.

1960 Reagan campaigned for Richard Nixon for President.

1962 Reagan officially changed his party registration to Republican.

1964 Reagan’s television address for Goldwater, “A Time for Choosing,” launched his political career. A group of California businessmen soon afterward supported Reagan’s candidacy for Governor.

1965 Reagan’s autobiography, Where’s the Rest of Me? is published.

1966 Reagan defeated incumbent governor Edmund G. (“Pat”) Brown in a landslide. His success in the election and as governor made him a leading contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968.

1968 Reagan made a tentative run for the presidency, waiting until the Republican National Convention to announce his candidacy. He later joined in unanimously supporting Richard Nixon.

1970 Reagan is re-elected governor.

1974 For several months after his gubernatorial term ended, Reagan wrote a syndicated newspaper column and provided commentaries on radio stations across the country.

Nov 20, 1975 Reagan announced candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. He lost the party’s nomination, but his strong showing laid the groundwork for the election in 1980.

Nov 13, 1979 Reagan announced his candidacy for President. After winning the party’s nomination, he chose George Bush as his running mate. The platform called for “a new consensus with all those across the land who share a community of values embodied in these words: family, work, neighborhood, peace, and freedom.”

Nov 4 1980 Reagan was elected the 40th President of the United States in a landslide victory over the incumbent, Jimmy Carter.

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