40th President Ronald Reagan Edit
Born: Feburary 6, 1911
Died: June 5, 2004
1st Wife: Jane Wyman
2nd Wife: Nancy Reagan
Reagan was the first actor to become president. He had acted in 53 films before becoming president including Dark Victory, Knute-Rockne––The All American, and Bedtime for Bonzo.
Born in Tampico, Illinois, Reagan moved to Los Angeles, California in the 1930s. He began a career in filmmaking and later television, making 52 films and gaining enough success to become a household name. Though often described as a B film actor, he starred in both Knute Rockne, All American and Kings Row. Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and later spokesman for General Electric (GE); his start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but won both the nomination and election in 1980.
As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics," advocated reduced business regulation, controlling inflation, reducing growth in government spending, and spurring economic growth through tax cuts. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against labor unions and ordered military actions in Grenada. He was reelected in a landslide in 1984, proclaiming it was "Morning in America." His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, namely the ending of the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair, and the covert war against Nicaragua Publicly describing the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", he supported anti-Communist movements worldwide and spent his first term forgoing the strategy of détente by ordering a massive military buildup in an arms race with the USSR. Reagan negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, culminating in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries' nuclear arsenals.
Reagan left office in 1989. In 1994, the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier in the year; he died ten years later at the age of 93. He ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating.