Feb. 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004State: California Religion: Disciple of Christ, Presbyterian Marriages: Jane Wyman (Sarah Jane Fulks), Nancy Davis (Anne Frances Robbins) Military service: He served in World War II, first as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve, then in the U.S. Army, rising to captain. He did not see action but narrated preflight training films for bomber pilots about how to conduct raids over Japan. Party: Republican Term: Jan. 20, 1981 - Jan. 20, 1989 Vice president: George Herbert Walker Bush Highlights of presidency: He survived an assassination attempt by John Hinckley on March 30, 1981 (his 71st day in office), in which a bullet just missed his heart. Reagan's economic policies, called "Reaganomics," attempted to tame inflation and create new jobs with supply-side economics following the worst recession since the Great Depression. Federal income taxes were cut, but states increased their taxes to replace lost revenue. Federal spending continued to rise throughout his terms in office, and the U.S. became the largest debtor nation. From April 1983 to December 1988, terrorist acts against the U.S. at the embassy and airport in Beirut, the hijacking of airplanes and cruise ships with American passengers aboard, the killing of Americans at the Rome and Vienna airports, an explosion at a West Berlin discotheque, and the downing of a Pan Am passenger jet over Scotland all resulted in Reagan charging Iran, Libya, North Korea, Cuba and Nicaragua with global terrorism. In 1985, the Iran-contra affair revealed Reagan's agreement to sell arms covertly to Iran during its war with Iraq in exchange for the release of American hostages, although Reagan had promised never to negotiate with terrorists. Part of the profit from the Iranian purchase of U.S. arms went to anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua, also without Congress' knowledge. Reagan sent U.S. troops into Grenada to successfully break up a Marxist coup in October 1983. He launched airstrikes against Libya in 1986 in response to Libyan support of terrorism. He signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the Soviet Union in 1987. He created the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Cabinet post. A defining moment in Reagan's presidency came when he stood at West Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987, and said, "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization. Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Did you know? As a young lifeguard, Reagan rescued 77 people from drowning. He is the only Hollywood actor to be elected president. He is the only president to wear a Nazi uniform; it was in the movie "Desperate Journey," in 1942. He married his first wife at Forest Lawn Cemetery; more than 60,000 people have been married there. Reagan is the only president to be the head of a labor union, the Screen Actors Guild. He is the first president to be divorced. Reagan served as governor of California, 1967-1975. He was the oldest man elected president and the oldest to leave office at 77. He was the first person with contact lenses to become president. He appointed the first female Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O'Connor.
Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times