Las Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton, '80s TV icon Mr. T and other celebrities will join First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton at Nancy Reagan's private funeral Friday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
Among those scheduled to attend include newsman Sam Donaldson, Katie Couric, Chris Mathews, actress Anjelica Huston and talk show host Melissa Rivers.
In a talk Tuesday, Michelle Obama paid tribute to Reagan, saying she "reminded us of the importance of women’s leadership." She said Reagan offered helpful advice when she became first lady.
Reagan, 94, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at her home in Bel-Air.
When the library was built, the Reagans decided they wanted to be buried together on the west side of the property, facing the Pacific Ocean, said Melissa Giller, a spokeswoman for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.
“They had such a true love affair,” Giller said. “She’s missed him since the day he passed, and I’m sure they are quite happy to be together again.”
The funeral procession is being planned based on the former first lady’s wishes, including her choice of the people to be invited, the readings to be given and the people involved in the program, Giller said.
About 1,000 people will be invited, including President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and former presidents, first ladies, heads of state and other dignitaries, she said.
The library also announced that the public will have a chance to pay their last respects before the funeral on Wednesday from 1 to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parking on-site will not be allowed, but shuttles will be provided from 400 National Way.
There will be enhanced security during this period at the library, Giller said. No large bags, cameras or strollers will be allowed, and all bags will be inspected. Gifts and flowers will be accepted at the bottom of Presidential Drive and at the shuttle pickup location.
In lieu of flowers, Reagan asked that contributions be made to the Ronald Reagan Memorial Fund at reaganlibrary.com.
Giller said the former first lady used to visit the library six to 10 times a year. She visited every June on the anniversary of her husband's death, Giller said.
She was very involved with the library as a member of the board and was “instrumental” in bringing the Air Force One exhibit and, more recently, the September presidential debate, to the library, which helped raise its national profile, Giller said.
“Ten to 15 years ago, the Reagan library had a much smaller imprint on our nation,” Giller said. “Without her, we wouldn’t have been able to do all the things that we have achieved so far.”