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Timeline of Ronald Reagan's Life
1911 Reagan Family pictureFebruary 6: Ronald Wilson Reagan is born in Tampico, Illinois, the second of two sons to John (Jack) and Nelle Reagan.
1920 After years of moving from town to town, the Reagan family settles in Dixon, Illinois.
1922 September 21: Reagan is baptized at his mother's Disciples of Christ Church.
1924 Reagan enters Dixon’s Northside High School.
1926 Reagan takes a job as lifeguard in Lowell Park, two miles away from Dixon, on the Rock River.
1928 August 3: "Dixon Daily Telegraph" front page headline reads: "Ronald Reagan saves drowning man." By the time he leaves his job, after seven summers, the count of those he has Reagan as a young manpulled from the water is 77.

Reagan enrolls in Eureka College, a small Christian college near Peoria, Illinois. Although never a model student (he graduated with a "C" average), Reagan is successful as both an actor and a football player.
1932 Within six weeks of graduating from Eureka, Reagan finds work at WOC radio in Davenport, Iowa.
1937 Reagan becomes a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry.

A Warner Brothers agent discovers him and offers him a seven-year studio contract. After his first film, "Love Is on the Air," in which Reagan plays a radio personality who uncovers corruption, Reagan will go on to star in more than 50 more films.
1940 January 26: Reagan marries actress Jane Wyman.

Reagan in footbal uniformReagan stars as Notre Dame football legend George Gipp in "Knute Rockne, All American." He earns the nickname "the Gipper" from this role.
1941 January: Reagan’s father Jack dies of heart attack at age 58.

January 4: Daughter Maureen is born.

July: Appointed to the board of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). He had joined in 1937.

Reagan in army uniformDecember: U.S. at war. Reagan drafted into the army. Nearsighted vision keeps him away from the front. He is assigned to the Motion Picture Army Unit in Culver City to make training and propaganda films.
1942 January 1: "King's Row" opens. Reagan's performance as Drake McHugh is the highlight of his film career.
1945 March: Michael Edward Reagan is adopted.
1946 November: SAG asks Reagan to mediate a dispute between rival unions. One, the Conference of Studio Unions, is lead by Herb Sorrell, a suspected Communist. It is while battling Sorrell that he learns to mistrust Communists.
1947 June 26: Wyman gives birth to a baby girl, born four months premature. The baby dies the next day.

Elected president of SAG for the first of five consecutive terms, Reagan testifies as a friendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. As a result of the hearings, "the Hollywood Ten" are imprisoned and many writers and directors thought to have ties to the Communist Party are blacklisted.
1948 June 6: Reagan and Wyman divorce. Wyman alleges "mental cruelty." Speculation about reasons for the break-up ranges from Reagan’s obsession with politics to allegations of Wyman’s affair with Lew Ayres, her co-star in "Johnny Belinda."
1950 Reagan campaigns in support of California Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas in her race against Richard Nixon for U.S. Senate.
1952 Ronald and NancyMarch 4: Marries Nancy Davis, an actress under contract with MGM.

October 22: Daughter Patricia (Patti) is born.

Reagan leads a movement of Democrats for Eisenhower during both of Eisenhower's presidential campaigns, in 1952 and 1956.

Reagan's movie career falters. Financially strapped, Reagan is forced to take a job as an emcee in Vegas, introducing singing quartet "The Continentals."
1954 Reagan in chairJanuary: Reagan is hired by General Electric. For the next eight years he will host "G.E. Theater" on television every Sunday evening. The job also requires him to make celebrity appearances at G.E. plants. Reagan receives a political education rarely available to politicians. He hones his political ideas, as his speeches increasingly discuss government’s encroachment on individual freedom.
1958 May 28: Son Ronald Prescott (Ron) is born.


1911 - 1958 | 1959 - 1977 | 1978 - 1982 | 1983 - 1985 | 1986 - 1988 | 1989 - 2004

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