Written by Juliana Simone
July 6, 1921 – March 6, 2016
The former First Lady of whom many consider to be the most beloved President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, passed today in Bel Air, CA at the age of 94.
Born in New York City as Anne Frances Robbins, to an actress and a used-car salesman, after her parents’ divorce early in life, she was adopted by her mother’s second husband, a neurosurgeon in Chicago. Becoming known as Nancy, she took her step-father’s last name of Davis, and went on to graduate private school and Smith College.
Following her mother’s career footsteps, Nancy Davis acted on stage, in television and in film, appearing in eleven movies, including her last with Reagan. She met her future husband, Ronald Reagan, when he was serving as the President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and was stunned to find her name on a list published in the newspaper of communist sympathizers, and called him for help. It turned out to be a mix up of two women with the same name.
Within relatively a year, they married and had two children. Ronald had two former children from his first marriage to actress Jayne Wyman. Maureen, died of cancer in 2001. Michael Reagan, adopted by Ronald and Jayne, is a conservative political commentator and published author today. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994, Michael was the one child the respected two-term Republican President always stood and waited for a hug from after a visit.
Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s close relationship gave them fifty-two years of marriage. Nancy adored her husband and was very protective of him throughout his years as the Governor of California, and later as the President of the United States. Ronald equally cherished his wife, and the two always held hands, shared love letters and had affectionate names for each other in private.
Nancy, as First Lady, is remembered for her war on drugs, and her slogan to youth and others to “just say no.” She also worked diligently raising money for the Alzheimer Foundation and as an active member of the Reagan Library.
Personally, she was well known for her haute couture, which consisted of red gowns designed by American fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrara for evening wear, and Chanel inspired suits for day time business.
The fine former First Lady will be laid to rest alongside her husband in Simi Valley, CA, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
Quoted many times with the great insight a woman of her caliber would have, aside from the great love of her husband, this one was maybe the most true, surmising the life she and her husband led together:
“The movies were custard compared to politics.”