First Lady Focus: Nancy Reagan

March 1, 2010 | Elizabeth

Nancy Reagan was fashion forward, a loving wife, a successful actress, and an active First Lady who served in the White House from 1981 to 1989.

She starred in movies such as Donovan’s Brain, Nightinto Morning, and Hellcats of the Navy and married Ronald Reagan, whom she called Ronnie, in 1952. They had an extremely close relationship right up until Ronald Reagan died from Alzheimer’s disease on June 5, 2004.

She told Vanity Fair in 1998:

“Our relationship is very special. We were very much in love and still are. When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it’s true. It did. I can’t imagine life without him.”

Nancy Reagan was often known for her extravagant style and she wore red so often, a certain shade of red became known as ‘Reagan red’.

Barbara Walters once said of her:

“She has served every day for eight long years the word’style.”

Before she became a First Lady of the White House, she wasthe First Lady of California and was very involved with the Foster Grandparents Program and the California Arts Commission.

While serving in the White House, Nancy Reagan launched the ‘Just Say No’ campaign in 1982 focusing on educating children about drugs and informing them about the effects of drug abuse.

“Understanding what drugs can do to your children, understanding peer pressure and understanding why they turn to drugs is… thefirst step in solving the problem.”

In 1985, she made her ‘Just Say No’ initiative international and held a conference at the White House for the First Ladies of countries around the globe. In 1986, her husband signed a bill into law about the issue and in 1988 she was the first First Lady who spoke at the U.N. about the effects of drugs on an international scale.

Nancy Reagan left the White House as a controversial figure.  She had a 56% approval rating, one of the highest of First Ladies (above Hillary Clinton and Rosalynn Carter), but she was also questioned for her luxurious living while she was in the White House regarding her expensive wardrobe.

In 2002, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by George W. Bush along with the Congressional Gold Medal with her husband (the third Presidential couple to receive the honor).

Nancy Regan has always been sophisticated and elegant and tothis day, continues on as an important figure in the U.S. at the age of 88. She is a model of a loving wife and mother who balanced her career, family, and life in the political scene with grace and poise.

Pictures can be found here: and

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