Ronald Reagan, what do we really know about this great American president? Known as the ‘Great Communicator’ Ronald Reagan is credited with being instrumental for the end of the Soviet Union. He is also known as a ‘union buster’. He is also a star studded actor despite being USA’s first citizen. Americans have polarized opinions of this American president and they have still not stopped admiring him.
Actor, governor of California and the 40th President of the United States of America – that is a rather long list of achievements. This republican has led a fascinating life and there are many things that people are still unaware of about his life.
Ronald Reagan was born in 1911 to a working class family in an apartment in a commercial building. He had an older brother and while he loved playing football, he was a lifeguard in his free time.
Man of many names
A chubby child, Reagan was called many names while growing up. ‘Ronnie’ was what his family and friends called him while when older, he was called ‘Dutch’ due to his Dutch haircut.
He earned the name ‘Gipper’ after playing the leading role in “Knute Rockne, All American” in 1940 as George Gipp, the University of Notre Dame football player. Like George Gipp, Reagan is reputed to have tried his best, another reason why he was called ‘Gipper’.
Education & extracurricular activities
Reagan would go through his childhood and teenage hood through a number of odd jobs and extracurricular activities. One of the most notable being, working as a lifeguard at Rock River near Dixon during which he is credited to having saved 77 lives.
Reagan was also the captain of the swimming team, the president of the student body, the yearbook editor, a member of the football, track and basketball cheerleading squad as well.
Reagan’s pastor encouraged him to attend the Eureka College and he eventually agreed, seeing as to his girlfriend too had decided to go there. After dropping her off, Reagan is said to have gone and met the president and talked him into giving Reagan an athletic scholarship complete with a job at the school dining room so that he can afford to eat and earn his keep as well during college.
Reagan was convinced he wanted a job in the entertainment sector. He was hired by the University of Iowa to broadcast football games, followed by a Davenport radio station for a staff announcer’s job eventually ending up as an announcer for the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
It was during his stint at the Chicago Cubs baseball team when he landed with a 7 year contract with Warner Brothers as an actor in B-movies.
Reagan was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corp in May, 1937, putting his acting career in hold.
Having married actress Jane Wyman in January 1940, the couple had two children who lived only 1 day. They adopted another child, a boy named Michael. Jane filed for divorce in 1949 however, citing the reason as Reagan’s distraction from their marriage due to the Screen Actors Guild. This makes him the first American president to ever have divorced. He remarried Nancy Davis in 1952 and had two children.
Reagan began his political career in the 1950s, having endorsed Barry Goldwater for United States President in 1964 on TV. Even though he did not win, Reagan managed to win people’s hearts. Reagan was then nominated by the California Republican Party in 1966 to run for Governor of California and he was sworn in as the Governor of California on January 3, 1967.
Regan ran for presidency as a means of stopping Nixon from entering office in 1968. He came in 3rd. this was followed by a more serious run in 1976, when he lost to opponent Gerald Ford. In 1980, at the age of 69, Reagan ran for the presidency again and succeeding this time, thus becoming the oldest president ever to be elected into office.