Reagan was raised by his traveling shoe salesman father John Reagan, and his mother Nelle. John was an alcoholic and was saved from the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration. Reagan was strongly influenced by his mother, who taught him to read at an early age.
After High School, Ronald Reagan won a Scholarship to Eureka College in Peoria, Illinois. He was very active at Eureka. He majored in economics, student body president, captain of the swimming team, and was on the football team. He became interested in acting, but after his graduation in 1932 the only job available that was related to show biz was a local radio sportscaster. In 1936 he took the job as a sportscaster for WHO radio station in Des Moines, Iowa.
Reagan moved to Hollywood in 1937 and began a 30-year acting career. Some of his noted movies were Knute Rockne-All American, King's Row, and Bedtime for Bozo. During his acting career, Reagan was elected as the president of the Screen Actors Guild six times. He married Jane Wyman, had two children, but divorced her eight years later. He married Nancy Davis in 1952 and they had two more children. As president of the union, he tried to remove communists from the movie industry.
Reagan's first national political scene was when he did a speech supporting Republican presidential candidate Senator Barry Goldwater. Even though Goldwater lost the election, he brought in money and praise from fellow Republicans around the country.
Reagan decided to run for Governor of California in 1966 and defeated Edmund G. Brown, Sr., by nearly one million votes. His two terms as governor were tough because six of the eight years he served the legislature was controlled by Democrats,...