From the Office of Nancy Reagan, Nancy Davis Reagan Bio.

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Nancy Davis Reagan July 6, 1921 – March 6, 2016

Nancy Davis Reagan was born on July 6, 1921, in New York City. Raised in Chicago, she graduated from Girls’ Latin School and went on to Smith College, Northampton, Mass., where she graduated in 1943.

In  her  early  career,  Nancy  Davis  worked  as  an  actress  in  stage,  film  and  television  productions.  In  1949,  she  signed  a seven-year contract with MGM. During this time, she met Ronald Reagan and they were married on March 4, 1952. She made eleven films in all, including three after her marriage. Her last film, at Columbia in 1956, was Hellcats of the Navy, the only film in which she and her husband appeared together.

Shortly  after  Ronald  Reagan  became  Governor  of  California  in  1967,  Mrs.  Reagan  began  visiting  wounded  Vietnam veterans  and  became  active  in  projects  concerning  POWs  and  servicemen  missing  in  action.    While  First  Lady  of California, she made regular visits to hospitals and homes for the elderly, as well as schools for physically and emotionally handicapped  children.  During  one  of  these  hospital  visits  in  1967,  she  observed  participants  in  the  Foster  Grandparent Program, a program which brings together senior citizens and handicapped children, and she soon became its champion. Later,  as  First  Lady  of  the  United  States,  Mrs.  Reagan  continued  to  help  expand  the  program  on  a  national  level  and promote private funding in local communities. 

Upon  becoming  First  Lady  of  the  United  States,  Mrs.  Reagan’s  primary  focus  was  fighting  drug  and  alcohol  abuse among youth. To  spotlight  the  problem,  she  traveled  nearly  250,000  miles  throughout  the  United  States  and  abroad  in conjunction  with  her  campaign  to  fight  substance  abuse.  She  appeared  on  television  talk  shows,  taped  public  service announcements, wrote guest articles, and visited prevention programs and rehabilitation centers to talk with young people and their parents. 

After leaving the White House on January 20, 1989, Mrs. Reagan established the Nancy Reagan Foundation to continue her  campaign  to  educate  people  about  the  serious  dangers  of  substance  abuse.  In  1994,  the  Nancy Reagan  Foundation joined  forces  with  the  BEST  Foundation  For  A  Drug-Free  Tomorrow  and  developed  the  Nancy Reagan  Afterschool Program, a drug prevention and life-skills program for youth. 

For ten years, Mrs. Reagan’s priority was caring for her husband at home as he battled Alzheimer’s Disease. Following his death in 2004, she was devoted to projects related to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, where  she  served  on  the  board  of  the  Ronald  Reagan  Presidential  Foundation,  and  promoted  her  husband’s  legacy of leadership and freedom.

Nancy  Davis  Reagan  was  the  only  daughter  of  Dr.  Loyal  Davis  and  Edith  Davis  of  Chicago  and  Phoenix.    She  is survived  by her brother,  Dr.  Richard  Davis,  and  two children with  Ronald Reagan  — Patti Davis and Ronald Prescott Reagan, along with numerous nieces and nephews. 

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