Ronald Wilson Reagan, who was known as the “Great Communicator,” was born to a poor Illinois family on February 6, 1911. He was interested in drama as a boy and got a sports broadcasting job after graduating from college. A screen test at Warner Brothers in 1937 led to an acting career that lasted nearly 30 years.
Politically, Reagan started out as a liberal Democrat. By the early 1950s, however, he was a conservative, and he joined the Republican Party in 1962. He was elected governor of California in 1966 and again in 1970.
Proclaiming the values of work, family, patriotism, and self-reliance, Reagan won a landslide victory in 1980, becoming the 40th President of the United States. After only a few months in office, the popular President was wounded in an attempted assassination. The 73-year-old Reagan ran successfully for a second term in 1984, becoming the oldest man ever elected President.
Reagan’s economic policy, “Reaganomics,” focused on tax cuts, reduced regulation of the marketplace, and less government spending. His foreign policy centered on opposing communism and strengthening defense.
Reagan was known for his optimism, humor, and ready smile. Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004.