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Ronald Reagan ACTOR


Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois. In 1920, after years spent moving from city to city, he and his family settled down in Dixon, Illinois. He went to Dixon High School and then went to Eureka College on a partial athletic scholarship. Here he majored in sociology and economics, although he was also very involved in the school’s drama program. Graduating right in the middle of The Great Depression, Reagan found it difficult to find work. He finally landed a broadcasting job with WOC, a small radio company in Davenport, Iowa. Soon after, WOC was absorbed by the Des Moines, Iowa stationed WHO, and Reagan became the chief sports announcer for the Chicago Cubs. It was while working here that the memorable incidence when Reagan’s wire was dead for six minutes happened. During the time that he could make no connections, he improvised an entire fictional play-by-play, which showed his imagination and cleverness.

While in California in 1937 for the spring training of the Chicago Cubs, Reagan took a screen test that resulted in a seven year long contract with Warner Brothers Pictures. His first role was as a sports announcer in “Love is on the Air” (1937) starring with June Travis, Willard Parker, Raymond Hatton and Eddie Acuff. He appeared in many other films after which earned him decent critic reviews, but nothing very special. Pictures like “Swing Your Lady” (1938) starring Humphrey Bogart, Frank McHugh, Louise Fazenda, Allen Jenkins, Nat Pendleton and Penny Singleton, “Secret Service of the Air” (1939), and “Murder in the Air” (1940) gave Reagan the bland 'good guy' roles, but not until he acted in “Knute Rockne, All American” (1940) co-starring Pat O'Brien, did he receive the subsistence he needed to really make him famous. In the movie, he played the renowned Notre Dame Football star George Gipp. However, Reagan did not believe his best acting skills to have been demonstrated yet, for in 1942 he gave his personal favorite performance in “Kings Rows” starring alongside Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Betty Field, Charles Coburn, Judith Anderson, Minor Watson and Claude Rains. He played an amputee and even used on of the lines in the movie: “Where’s the Rest of Me?” for the title of his first autobiography. Unfortunately, after the draw of the 1940's, the actor’s career began to wilt, as he started finding work mainly in B-movies because his contract with Warner Bros. expired such as "Cattle Queen of Montana" (1954) co-starring Barbara Stanwyck and featuring Chubby Johnson, Jack Elam and Morris Ankrum and "Hellcats of the Navy" (1957) starring his wife to be Nancy Davis, who would eventually change her name to Nancy Reagan.

During the Second World War, he served as a non-combative captain in the Army Air Corps, and also turned out a number of training videos. Additionally, to boost morale, he acted in some wartime films like “For God and Country” (1943), “Rear Gunner” (1943) and "This is the Army" (1943) costarring Kate Smith, Alan Hale Sr., George Murphy, Joan Leslie, George Tobias and Dolores Costello. In 1947 he returned to Hollywood. He had a five year long term of being the Screen Actors Guild president, which he had joined in 1938. The actor became president of the guild once again in 1959. It was around this time that Reagan started to become absorbed in the politics of Hollywood and disputes over Communism in the film industry. He did however, continue to appear in films. He played lead, opposite Shirley Temple and Rory Calhoun, in “That Hagan Girl” (1949). In 1949 he furthermore co-starred in the popular “The Hasty Heart” co-starring Richard Todd and Patricia Neal. A year later, he played one of his most infamous roles as a college professor who made friends with his lab project, a chimpanzee, in “Bedtime for Bonzo” (1951) also starring Diana Lynn and Walter Slezak. The film made Reagan the butt of many jokes, especially during his political career. The actor additionally appeared in the last Warner Bros. picture he would ever make the biopic of the famous baseball player Grover Cleveland Alexander, “The Winning Team” starring with Doris Day and Frank Lovejoy. However, in this decade he also discovered television, which he involved himself much more in than motion pictures. In 1954, the actor began his eight year involvement as the “General Electric Theater” aka "G.E. True Theater" television show host and spokesperson. As well, he appeared in over ten other TV series.

The sixties marked the last decade of Reagan’s participation in acting. He uncharacteristically portrayed the villain in “The Killers” (1964) starring alongside Angie Dickinson, Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Claude Akins, Norman Fell, Dan Haggerty and Clu Gulager, which was his final effort for the film industry. His farewell to acting came, however, on eight separate episodes of the western drama series “Death Valley Days” (1964-65). All in all, he appeared in over sixty movies and sixteen varying television shows, so he deserved a break. He did not rest though, for in 1966 he became the Governor of California. Following, he worked his way up the political ladder, becoming the California governor yet again in 1970, and finally, being inaugurated as president in 1981 and serving two terms.

Ronald Reagan was as popular a politician as he was an actor. For his hard work and determination in politics, he was awarded the most prestigious honor: president; for his talent and perseverance in the acting world, he was given a Golden Boot, Hollywood Citizenship Award from the Golden Globes, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sadly, all good things must end. On November 5, 1994, Reagan declared to the American public that he had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Over the next decade, his health and mind both deteriorated, eventually leading to the ninety three year old’s death on June 5, 2004.

1964       Death Valley Days 

1964       Kraft Suspense Theatre 

1964       The Killers 

1963       Wagon Train 

1963       Heritage of Splendor

1961       The Dick Powell Theatre  

1961       The Young Doctors 

1961       Zane Grey Theatre 

1960       Startime 

1960       The DuPont Show with June Allyson 

1957       Hellcats of the Navy 

1956       General Electric Summer Originals 

1955       Tennessee's Partner 

1954       G.E. True Theater  

1954       Cattle Queen of Montana

1954       Prisoner of War

1953       The Ford Television Theatre 

1953       Schlitz Playhouse  

1953       Lux Video Theatre 

1953       The Revlon Mirror Theater 

1953       Medallion Theatre 

1953       Law and Order 

1953       Tropic Zone 

1952       Hollywood Opening Night 

1952       She's Working Her Way Through College 

1952       The Winning Team 

1952       Hong Kong 

1951       Bedtime for Bonzo 

1951       The Last Outpost 

1951       Storm Warning 

1951       The Big Truth 

1950       Nash Airflyte Theatre 

1950       Louisa 

1949       The Hasty Heart 

1949       The Girl from Jones Beach 

1949       Night Unto Night 

1949       John Loves Mary 

1947       The Voice of the Turtle 

1947       That Hagen Girl 

1947       Stallion Road 

1943       This Is the Army 

1943       The Rear Gunner 

1943       Cadet Classification  

1943       For God and Country 

1942       Beyond the Line of Duty 

1942       Desperate Journey 

1942       Juke Girl 

1942       Mister Gardenia Jones 

1942       Kings Row 

1941       Nine Lives Are Not Enough 

1941       International Squadron 

1941       Million Dollar Baby 

1941       The Bad Man 

1940       Santa Fe Trail 

1940       Tugboat Annie Sails Again 

1940       Knute Rockne, All American 

1940       Murder in the Air  

1940       An Angel from Texas 

1940       Brother Rat and a Baby 

1939       Smashing the Money Ring 

1939       The Angels Wash Their Faces  

1939       Hell's Kitchen 

1939       Naughty But Nice 

1939       Code of the Secret Service 

1939       Dark Victory 

1939       Secret Service of the Air 

1938       Going Places 

1938       Brother Rat 

1938       Girls on Probation 

1938       Boy Meets Girl 

1938       The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse 

1938       Cowboy from Brooklyn 

1938       Accidents Will Happen 

1938       Swing Your Lady 

1938       Sergeant Murphy 

1937       Hollywood Hotel  

1937       Love Is on the Air 

Matinee Classics - Death Valley Days hosted by Stanley Andrews, Ronald Reagan, Robert Taylor, Dale Robertson and Merle Haggard
Matinee Classics - Cattle Queen of Montana starring Barbara Stanwyck, Ronald Reagan, Gene Evans, Jack Elam, Morris Ankrum, Lance Fuler and Anthony Caruso
Matinee Classics - Bedtime for Bonzo starring Ronald Reagan, Diana Lynn, Walter Slezak, Lucille Barkley, Jesse White, Herbert Heyes, Herbert Vigran, Harry Tyler, Edward Clark, Edward Gargan, Joel Friedkin, Brad Browne, Elizabeth Flournoy, Howard Banks and Perc Launders
Matinee Classics - A Child is Born starring Ronald Reagan, Patti Davis and Nancy Davis
Matinee Classics - An Angel from Texas starring Eddie Albert, Rosemary Lane, Wayne Morris, Jane Wyman, Ronald Reagan, Ruth Terry, John Litel, Hobart Cavanaugh, Ann Shoemaker, Tom Kennedy, Milburn Stone and Elliott Sullivan
Matinee Classics - Hellcats of the Navy starring Ronald Reagan, Nancy Davis, Arthur Franz, Robert Arthur, William Leslie, William Phillips, Harry Lauter, Michael Garth, Joseph Turkel and Don Keefer
Matinee Classics - Night Unto Night starring Ronald Reagan, Viveca Lindfors, Broderick Crawford, Rosemary DeCamp, Osa Massen, Art Baker, Craig Stevens, Erskine Sanford, Ann Burr, Johnny McGovern, Lillian Yarbo, Ross Ford, Almira Sessions and Dick Elliott
Matinee Classics - World War II - The Rear Gunner
Matinee Classics - Prisoner of War starring Ronald Reagan, Steve Forrest, Dewey Martin, Oskar Homolka, Robert Horton, Paul Stewart, Harry Morgan, Stephen Bekassy, Leonard Strong, Darryl Hickman, Weaver Levy, Rollin Moriyama, Ike Jones, Clarence Lung, Jerry Paris, John Lupton and Ralph Ahn
Matinee Classics - Prisoner of War starring Ronald Reagan, Steve Forrest, Dewey Martin, Oskar Homolka, Robert Horton, Paul Stewart, Harry Morgan, Stephen Bekassy, Leonard Strong, Darryl Hickman, Weaver Levy, Rollin Moriyama, Ike Jones, Clarence Lung, Jerry Paris, John Lupton and Ralph Ahn

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