Former first lady Nancy Reagan is dead at the age of 94. Her family says she died yesterday morning at her home in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. In addition to her more than 50-year marriage to President Ronald Reagan, she is perhaps best known for her “Just Say No” campaign against drug abuse. Nancy married Reagan in 1952 while he was serving as the president of the Screen Actors Guild.
She said her life really began when she married her beloved “Ronnie.” Together they had two children, Patricia Ann Reagan and Ronald Prescott Reagan. Born Anne Frances Robbins in New York, she was raised in Maryland while her mother pursued a career in acting. Known then as Nancy Davis, in the 1940s and 1950s she starred in films including “Donovan’s Brain,” “Night into Morning” and “Hellcats of the Navy,” in which she was paired with the man who would become her “Ronnie.”
Nancy became the first lady of California during her husband’s two terms as the state’s governor. In the late ’60s she was named “Los Angeles Times” Woman of the Year, and labeled a model first lady. Reagan became the first lady of the United States in January of 1981. She was credited with bringing a Kennedy-esque glamor back to the White House. Nancy once remarked that she and her husband didn’t like being apart, and that she missed him more than ever after he passed away in June of 2004.
- President Barack Obama is crediting the former first lady with helping prepare him and Michelle Obama for the White House. In statement, the President and first lady said that Nancy Reagan redefined the role of first lady and that her warm and generous advice helped them acclimate. They also praised her as a voice for families affected by Alzheimer’s and as an advocate for potential treatments that “hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives.”
- For her part, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recalled Nancy’s personality as well as the work she did after leaving the White House. “[Her] strength of character was legendary,” she offered via Twitter. “Her advocacy—especially for Alzheimer’s research—was tireless. Praying for her family.”
Source: New York Times