Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Ronald Reagan and the 40th First Lady of the United States, died Sunday morning at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94.
Reagan was widely known as guardian of her late husband’s image starting from their days in Hollywood. Her loyalty was credited as an instrumental force behind his tenure as the governor of California and later to the White House. She chose and fired political consultants for his 1976 bid for the Republican nomination as well as for his ascendancy to the White House in 1980.
She was glamorous, often looking younger than her age, and courted significant controversy for her remodeling of the White House, raising $822,000 from private contributors to make this possible. $220,000 went to a set of presidential china, the first since the Johnson administration.
But Nancy Reagan divided her public life and private life evenly. While she may have been a driving force behind the scenes, in public she presented an image of a loyal, steadfast wife who had been happy to give up her Hollywood career to further her husband’s political ambitions. In 2001, after Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she broke with then-President George W. Bush and endorsed embryonic stem cell research.
As First Lady, Nancy Reagan lent her voice to the fight against drug and alcohol abuse with the “Just Say No”
To read more, continue to page 2.