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  Nancy Reagan

by John T. Marck

First Lady: 1981 to 1989

Wife of President Ronald Reagan

Born: July 6, 1921

Anne Frances Robbins was born in New York City on July 6, 1921 (Although she lists her birth date as July 6, 1923), the daughter of Kenneth and Edith Luckett Robbins. Her father was a used car salesmen and her mother a Broadway actress. Anne was nicknamed "Nancy" at a very young age. Her father divorced her mother shortly after she was born, so she knew very little about him. Nancy was raised by her maternal aunt in Bethesda, Maryland, to the age of eight, while her mother pursued her acting career. In 1929, her mother remarried a Dr. Loyal Davis, a neurosurgeon, who adopted Nancy eight years later.

Nancy attended school in Chicago, and graduated from Smith College in 1943. She obtained her first professional acting job in 1946, playing the part of "Si-tchun" in the Broadway play Lute Song, with starred Yul Brynner and Mary Martin. In 1949 she signed an eleven-year contract with MGM, during which she met Ronald Reagan. She met him when he was President of the Screen Actors Guild. It seemed that Nancy found her name listed on a mailing list of left-wing organizations. Being concerned, she sought the advice of Reagan, in that he was President of the Guild, who straightened the matter out as she had been confused with another person, also named Nancy Davis. After several meetings' Nancy and Ronald were married on March 4, 1952, in North Hollywood, California. They had a simple wedding, at which William Holden served as best man. Ronald and Nancy appeared in two films together, Hell Cats of the Navy in 1957 and Money and the Minister for the General Electric Theatre.

Upon Reagan's election to the Presidency, Nancy was first criticized for spending almost one million dollars to remodel the living quarters at the White House, and acquiring two hundred-twenty Lenox china place settings, at a time when the Reagan Administration was calling for cutbacks in domestic programs and spending. Nancy emerged however as a leader in various campaigns against drug abuse, and worked toward its goals. In 1981, following the attempted assassination of her husband, Nancy turned to astrology for comfort, and continued to use astrology to plan her husband's schedule, for which she was again criticized. After the Presidency, both Nancy and Ronald retired to their California ranch, and are writing their memoirs. More recently, President Reagan has been fighting his bouts with Alzheimer's disease.

Copyright 1990-2022 by  John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. From The First Ladies of the United States by John T. Marck.