83. Ronald Reagan: From Actor to President



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Ronald Reagan was one of the most popular United States presidents in modern times. He served from January, 1981 through December, 1989, making him a two-term president. He won both elections by very wide margins over his Democratic opponents, incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980, and Walter Mondale in 1984. In the election, Reagan took every state with the exception of Minnesota, which was Mondale's home state. Reagan had an endearing quality that served him well when addressing the country. This came from his days as a Hollywood actor, where he starred in several movies after a short career in radio broadcasting.

Born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois, Reagan grew up in small towns throughout the state. At one time, the family lived in an apartment above a department store. After he won the presidency, and moved into the White House, Reagan joked that he was "living above the store again." It was this type of down-to-earth humor that endeared him to the American public.

As a teenager attending Dixon High School in California, Reagan began developing an interest in acting, sports, and storytelling. After a brief career as a radio broadcaster, Reagan auditioned for a part in a movie in 1937. He landed the role, and signed a seven-year contract with the Warner Brothers Studio. He appeared in several films before being called into the military, effectively ending his Hollywood career.

Reagan served as Governor of California for four years prior to becoming president. His presidential term was very successful as he presided over many of the landmark events during the 1980s. During his final term, Reagan suffered from the effects of Alzheimer's Disease, which negatively affected his ability to govern, but he carried out his term, and his legacy as a great president remained intact.

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