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Ronald Reagan Fun Facts

He was governor of California before becoming America's 40th president but there are many other Ronald Reagan fun facts that may surprise you. His charisma and colorful background combined with a successful political career make Ronald Reagan one of the quirkiest U.S. Presidents in the history of the office.

Ronald Reagan Fun Facts

Reagan's Early Years

Even before anyone knew who he was, President Reagan's, personal and professional, life was full of interesting tidbits such as local boy heroism and anti-communism activities. Check out these Ronald Reagan fun facts from his early life.

  • During his college years, Reagan performed lifeguard duties at Lowell Park in Illinois where he saved 77 people from drowning to death.
  • After his graduation from Eureka College, Reagan became a Chicago Cubs radio announcer for WHO in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Reagan's radio announcer job brought him to Hollywood In 1937 to cover the Cubs at spring training. While there, he took a screen test and subsequently signed a contract with Warner Brothers for $200 a week.
  • Over the course of his acting career, Ronald Reagan made over 50 major films.
  • While modeling for a sculpting class in 1940, Reagan was deemed as having "the most nearly perfect male figure" by the Division of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California.
  • In 1947 Reagan won the election for President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). He served for four additional terms and filled the office until July of 1960.
  • During his tenure, he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee regarding "Communist Party, USA's" involvement in a SAG strike on orders of the Soviet Union.
  • In 1952, Reagan married his second wife, actress Nancy Davis.
  • Ronald Reagan served in the Army Reserves and on active duty in the Second World War. He received a recommendation for promotion to Major in 1945 but army officials denied the recommendation.

Ronald Reagan Fun Facts in Politics

Throughout most of his life, Reagan was active in politics. He voted often and campaigned for Barry Goldwater before making a run for governor of California and eventually President of the United States. Just like his personal life, Reagan's political career was interesting and richly diverse.

  • Reagan was an active democrat as a young man and joined the "Democrats for Eisenhower" in 1952; however, his political affiliation began to shift in 1960 when he worked for Richard Nixon's election. He officially joined the Republican Party in 1962.
  • Ronald Reagan crushed his opponent, Edmund G. ("Pat") Brown, in the California gubernatorial election in 1966, winning with more than one million votes.
  • Everyone knows about the attempt on Reagan's life when he was President, but an assassination attempt also took place when he was governor of California. Two men tried to firebomb the governor's residence amid the chaos of the times in 1968.
  • Ronald Reagan made history when he nominated the first female justice to the Supreme Court in 1981. He made the nomination in part because it was one of his early campaign promises during his race to the White House.
  • Throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan coined several phrases that still appear from time to time including "New World Order", "Privatization", "The Welfare Cadillac", and most famously "Trickle Down Economics" also known as "Reaganomics".
  • President Reagan loved to snack on jelly beans and was particularly fond of the Jelly Belly brand. In fact, blueberry Jelly Bellies were developed especially for the President to match the color scheme of his inaugural festivities, which featured bowls of Jelly Belly beans. Roughly, 2,800,000 jelly beans were served at the festivities.

Quick Facts

Ronald Reagan was an enigma to ordinary Americans and world leaders alike. Although both admired and detested, he was unforgettable.

Here are a few more Ronald Reagan fun facts to consider, or learn more about our 40th President by visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Did You Know?

Reagan was the first President to have been divorced.

  • As a UFO buff Reagan unofficially claimed to have sited UFOs on at least two occasions.
  • At 69 years of age, Reagan was the oldest President when inaugurated.
  • The male lead in the movie "Casablanca" originally went to Reagan.
  • Ronald Reagan had several nicknames including "Dutch" and "the Gipper".

By Stacy Taylor