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AMERICAN HISTORY

40th President:  Ronald Wilson Reagan
Years in Office:  1981 -- 1989  ( 8 yrs )
Party: Republican
Vice President:  George Bush
First Lady:  Nancy Davis Reagan
Year Born: no data
Year Died:  no data

Ronald Reagan made his way to the presidency with the help of good looks and charm.

    Born and raised in rural Illinois, Reagan pursued his three favorite pastimes: sports, drama and politics.  After graduating from Eureka, a small Christian College,  he took a job as a radio announcer in Iowa, graduating to sportswriter and broadcaster.  Then came the big break - he was given a screen test and ultimately a contract by Warner Brothers. Starting in 1937, he would appear in upwards of 50 films.  When Reagan's request for active duty in the Army Air Corps during World War ll was denied because of poor eyesight, he was assigned to narrating war training films.

    After the war he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild, and proved effective in strengthening the union.  Right up to the McCarthy era,  Reagan was active in liberal politics,  contributing to Democratic campaigns across the country.  He switched his voter registration to Republican in 1962.

    Two years later,  he made a televised fund - raising appeal for presidential candidate Barry Goldwater that brought in more money than any other political endorsement in recorded history.  Clearly, the "Great Communicator" had been born.