Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American politician and actor who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Prior to the presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and trade union leader before serving as the 33rd Governor of California from 1967 to 1975. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and awesome facts about Ronald Reagan.
1. Reagan was raised in a poor family in a small town in northern Illinois.
2. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a sports announcer on several regional radio stations.
3. After moving to Hollywood in 1937, he became an actor and starred in a few major productions.
4. Reagan was elected twice as President of the Screen Actors Guild, which is the labor union for actors, where he worked to root out Communist influence.
5. In the 1950s, he moved into television and was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories.
6. Reagan had been a Democrat until 1962, when he became a conservative and switched to the Republican Party.
7. In 1964, Reagan’s speech, “A Time for Choosing,” supported Barry Goldwater’s foundering presidential campaign and earned him national attention as a new conservative spokesman.
8. Building a network of supporters, he was elected Governor of California in 1966. As governor, Reagan raised taxes, turned a state budget deficit to a surplus, challenged the protesters at the University of California, ordered in National Guard troops during a period of protest movements in 1969, and was re-elected in 1970.
9. He twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1968 and 1976.
10. In 1980, he won the Republican presidential nomination, and then defeated incumbent president Jimmy Carter.
11. At 69 years, 349 days of age at the time of his inauguration, he became the oldest president-elect to take the oath of office, a distinction that’s now held by Donald Trump.
12. Reagan faced former vice president Walter Mondale when he ran for re-election in 1984, and defeated him in a landslide with the largest electoral college victory in American history.
13. In 1926, Reagan got his first job as a lifeguard at the Rock River. There, he saved the lives of 77 people.
14. In 1928, he won an athletic scholarship, which enabled him to enroll in Eureka College. During the college years, he was an active participant in sports activities, particularly football and swimming. Majoring in economics and sociology, he completed his bachelor’s degree in 1932.
15. After graduation, he worked as a sports announcer with several radio stations and broadcast for the World Health Organization in Iowa.
16. In 1937, Reagan had given a screen test and won a seven year contract with Warner Brothers for $200 per week.
17. In 1937, his first movie “Love is on the Air” released, for which he received rave reviews.
18. During World War II, he joined the Army Air Corps and gained the position of captain. However, he quit the job in 1945 and resumed his acting career in the same year.
19. He married his costar Jane Wyman in 1940, had two children and adopted a third child.
20. Unhappy with Reagan’s political ambition, Wyman divorced him in 1949. He’s the first American President to have been divorced. However, in 1952, he married his second wife, Nancy David, who later became the First Lady.
21. Just 69 days after he took office, on March 30, 1981, as the 40th President of the United States, Regan, along with three others, were shot by John Warnock Hinckley, Jr. The incident happened outside Hilton Washington hotel in Washington, D.C. He survived the attempted assassination with a puncture lung. With quick medical help, he achieved full recovery.
22. During his first term, Regan pursued policies that emphasized personal freedom, expanded the scope of the military, improved the U.S. economy, and brought an end to the Cold War.
23. After his name, the economic policies that were enacted in 1981 were called Reaganomics. They aimed at reduction in social spending and enhancing entrepreneurship.
24. When he left office in 1989, after serving the second term, he was 77 years old. Five years later, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
25. His nicknames included the Gipper, the Great Communicator, Dutch, Ronald the Right, The Teflon President and the Jelly Bean Man.
26. After his election as president, Reagan received a lifetime gold membership in the Screen Actors Guild, was inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame, and received the United States Military Academy’s Sylvanus Thayer Award.
27. In 1981, Reagan was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln, the state’s highest honor, by the Governor of Illinois in the area of Government.
28. in 1983, he received the highest distinction of the Scout Association of Japan, the Golden Pheasant Award.
29. In 1989, Reagan was made an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, one of the highest British orders.
30. Reagan was named an honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford.