America’s 40th President Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois, on this day in history, Feb. 6, 1911.
Before he was a movie star-turned-commander-in-chief, Reagan was born to parents Nelle and John Reagan in the northwestern Illinois town.
Although they were poor, Reagan still remembered his childhood as “idyllic,” according to History.com, and grew up to play football in high school and at Eureka College.
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While in college, Reagan studied economics and sociology and also acted in school plays, according to the White House website.
After graduating during the Great Depression, Reagan finally took a job broadcasting sports at a radio station in Iowa.
In 1937, Warner Brothers offered Reagan his first on-screen gig playing a radio reporter in the B-movie “Love Is on the Air.”
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Reagan signed a seven-year contract starting at $200 per week, History.com notes.
A few years later, Reagan landed the notable role of Notre Dame University’s George Gipp in the movie “Knute Rockne – All American.”
Reagan began involving himself in politics once he’d starred in more than 50 films and served six terms as Screen Actors Guild president.
In 1947, he stood up against alleged communism within Hollywood by testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Reagan divorced his first wife, Jane Wyman, in 1948, and in 1952 married actress Nancy Davis.
The early 1950s sparked Reagan’s career as the host of the TV program “General Electric Theater” and traveled the country as GE Company spokesperson.
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Reagan’s political involvement grew into the 1960s when the actor switched his affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1962.
His campaign brought a new wave of conservatism to the U.S.
In 1966, Reagan ran for California governor and won against incumbent Pat Brown by close to a million votes, history.com reports.
Reagan served two terms as California’s governor before making a bid for the presidential ticket in 1976, which he lost to Gerald Ford.
But 1980 proved to be Reagan’s year after he won the Republican nomination and beat out incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter for president.
Then 69 years old, Reagan was considered the oldest president in American history.
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His campaign brought a new wave of conservatism to the U.S. with his pledge to restore “the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism.”
His career in Hollywood became one of his “biggest assets,” History.com says, as he became known as the “Teflon president” and faced a string of successes.
“His term saw a restoration of prosperity at home, with the goal of achieving ‘peace through strength’ abroad,” the White House says on its website.
Emerging from the unrest of the Vietnam War, Reagan’s foreign policy legacy led to open relations with the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.
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The president’s economic policy, known as “Reaganomics,” pushed to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment and strengthen the national defense.
The president maintained his popularity throughout his two-term presidency after renewing national “self-confidence,” whitehouse.gov reports.
Reagan handed over the White House to his vice president, George H.W. Bush, in 1988.
On June 5, 2004, Reagan died at the age of 93 after his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
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Source: Fox News