U.S. Presidents / Ronald Reagan

Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

1911 - 2004

Ronald Reagan

…with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope. Inaugural Address


Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, followed a unique path to the White House. After successful careers as a radio sports announcer, Hollywood movie actor, and television host, he turned to politics and was elected governor of California in 1966, serving eight years. He ran unsuccessfully for President in 1968 and 1976, but in 1980, during a time of U.S. economic troubles and foreign policy difficulties, he won the Republican presidential nomination in a contest with George H.W. Bush and others and defeated President Jimmy Carter in the general election.

Fast Facts

Ronald Wilson Reagan
Tampico, Illinois
Eureka College (1932)
Christian Church
Actor, Public Official
“Dutch,” “The Gipper,” “The Great Communicator”
January 26, 1940, to Jane Wyman (1914–2007), divorced, 1948; March 4, 1952, to Nancy Davis (1923–2016)
Maureen Elizabeth (1941–2001); Michael Edward (1945–); Patricia Ann (1952–); Ronald Prescott (1958–)
Simi Valley, California
Lou Cannon

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Ronald Reagan.” Accessed July 16, 2024. https://millercenter.org/president/reagan.


Lou Cannon

Mr. Cannon is the author of nine books, five of them on Ronald Reagan, and has been called Reagan’s definitive biographer. As a journalist, he covered the Reagan presidency for The Washington Post and the Reagan governorship of California for the San Jose Mercury-News.