Nancy Davis Reagan, the widow of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, died Sunday at the age of 94 at her home in Bel-Air, Los Angeles.
Nancy Reagan, who died of heart failure, served as First Lady from 1981 to 1989. She was remembered for her passionate advocacy for decreasing drug and alcohol abuse, according to the website of the White House.
The former First Lady was born on July 6, 1921 in New York City. When she was six, her mother married a neurosurgeon who adopted Nancy, and she grew up in Chicago. She majored in theater at Smith College in Massachusetts.
Soon after graduation she became a professional actress. Billed as Nancy Davis, she performed in 11 films from 1949 to 1956.
She had met Ronald Reagan in 1951, when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild. The following year they were married in Los Angeles. She became First Lady of the United States in January 1981, following her husband’s victory in the 1980 presidential election.
Mrs. Reagan soon retired from making movies so she “could be the wife I wanted to be…A woman’s real happiness and real fulfillment come from within the home with her husband and children,” she says. Reagan and Mrs. Reagan have a daughter, Patricia Ann, and a son, Ronald Prescott.
While her husband was Governor of California from 1967 to 1975, she worked with numerous charitable groups. She spent many hours visiting veterans, the elderly, and the emotionally and physically handicapped. Increasingly, she has concentrated on the fight against drug and alcohol abuse among young people.
She visited prevention and rehabilitation centers, and in 1985 she held a conference at the White House for First Ladies of 17 countries to focus international attention on this problem.
Mrs. Reagan shared her lifelong interest in the arts with the nation by using the Executive Mansion as a showcase for talented young performers in the PBS television series “In Performance at the White House.”
In her first year in the mansion she directed a major renovation of the second- and third-floor quarters.
Before she died, she lived in retirement in California, she continues to work on her campaign to teach children to “just say no” to drugs.
In her book My Turn, published in 1989, she gives her own account of her life in the White House. Through the joys and sorrows of those days, including the assassination attempt on her husband, Nancy Reagan held fast to her belief in love, honesty, and selflessness. Enditem