Like none other, Ronald Reagan scaled the heights of both acting and politics. The conservative icon is still the man by whom all Republican candidates are measured. He served as President of the Screen Actors Guild during the golden age of cinema, and as the 40th President of the United States. But there are seven things you probably didn’t know about The Gipper.
1. Love for jelly beans
President Reagan loved jelly beans. During his tenure in the White House, the Jelly Belly company sent tons of jelly beans to the White House. They did this because their jelly beans were on display in all the meeting rooms where cameras were present. Talk about smart advertising!
2. Incredible generosity
While Governor of California and President of the United States, he received countless letters from constituents. And he read as many letters as he could. Often, he received odd requests for personal financial assistance. Nancy Reagan said he would sit at his desk for hours, writing out checks for $5,000 to people he would never meet.
3. He wanted to play baseball
Reagan loved baseball. He even dedicated May of 1983 as National Amateur Baseball Month, in an effort to get more kids out to play the sport. His favorite team was the Chicago Cubs, though he never got to see them win a World Series.
4. Reagan was a squirrel’s best friend
The president loved feeding the squirrels on the White House lawn. They became so used to him that they’d come right up to him for their daily treats. But when Reagan’s second term neared its end, he knew his successor, George Bush, was no fan of squirrels. So he left a farewell note in his White House desk, for Bush to pass along to the squirrels. It read: “Beware of Bush’s dog.”
5. Only divorcee
Throughout history, we have had single presidents and married presidents, but only one divorced president – until Donald Trump. Known as a consummate family man, Reagan had been married to Jane Wyman from 1940-1948, long before meeting Nancy.
6. Once a Democrat
Born in 1911, Reagan lived through the Great Depression, and was impressed with President Franklin Roosevelt’s compassion for the poor. Like most of his era, he pledged his allegiance to the Democratic Party as a young man, But by the early 1960s he registered as a Republican.
7. Biggest presidential landslide ever
In his bid for re-election in 1984, Reagan won the biggest Electoral College landslide ever. While winning 49 of 50 states, the final tally in the Electoral College was 525 for Reagan and 13 for Walter Mondale.