Key dates in the life of Reagan

Feb. 6, 1911: Born in Tampico, Ill., the younger of two sons of Nelle and John Reagan.

1932: Graduates from Eureka College, Eureka, Ill.

1932-1937: Works as radio announcer at WOC, Davenport, Iowa, and then WHO, Des Moines.

1937: Makes film debut with “Love Is on the Air.”

Jan. 26, 1940: Marries Jane Wyman, actress. Children: Maureen, born 1941; Michael, 1945; and Christine, born four months premature in 1947 and died the next day. Marriage ends in divorce in 1949.

1940: Plays “the Gipper” in “Knute Rockne: All-American,” one of his best-known roles.

1942-45: Serves war effort by making Air Force training films.

1947: Becomes president of the Screen Actors Guild.

March 4, 1952: Marries Nancy Davis, actress. Children: Patti, born 1952, and Ronald, 1958.

1952, 1956, 1960: Though a Democrat, he campaigns for Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. He formally switches to Republican Party in 1962.

1954-62: Works as host and performer on “General Electric Theater,” tours as speaker for GE.

Oct. 27, 1964: Gives influential speech in favor of GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.

Nov. 8, 1966: Elected California governor over incumbent Democrat Edmund “Pat” Brown.

1968: Makes last-minute bid for Republican presidential nomination.

Nov. 3, 1970: Elected to second term as governor.

1976: Challenges President Ford unsuccessfully in the Republican primaries.

Nov. 4, 1980: Elected president over incumbent Jimmy Carter, garnering 51.6 percent of the popular vote to 41.7 percent for Carter and 6.7 percent for independent John Anderson.

Jan. 20, 1981: Sworn in as 40th president of the United States. Iranian hostages released.

March 30, 1981: Wounded by one of six shots fired as he left a Washington hotel after giving a speech.

June 5, 1981: The AIDS crisis begins when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports five gay men in Los Angeles are suffering from a rare pneumonia.

July 7, 1981: Announces he is nominating Arizona judge Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

August 1981: Fires more than 11,000 air traffic controllers after they go out on strike against the Federal Aviation Administration.

Oct. 23, 1983: 241 U.S. Marines and sailors are killed in a suicide truck-bombing in Lebanon.

Oct. 25, 1983: U.S. troops invade island of Grenada after a leftist coup there.

Nov. 6, 1984: Re-elected, besting former Vice President Walter Mondale with nearly 60 percent of the popular vote. He took 49 out of 50 states for an Electoral College vote of 525-13, the most lopsided since Franklin Roosevelt defeated Alf Landon in 1936.

May 5, 1985: Visits German military cemetery at Bitburg as a gesture of reconciliation, inciting worldwide protests because 49 of Adolf Hitler’s dreaded Waffen SS troops are buried there.

July 13, 1985: Undergoes successful surgery for colon cancer.

Nov. 19-21, 1985: Summit in Geneva with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan calls it a “fresh start” in U.S.-Soviet relations.

April 15, 1986: United States launches an air raid against Libya in response to the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin 10 days earlier. Libya says 37 people, mostly civilians, are killed.

Oct. 11-12, 1986: Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, on arms reduction, U.S. strategic defense initiative or “Star Wars.”

November 1986: The Iran-Contra affair becomes public. The White House admits selling arms to Iran but denies it sold arms for hostages. Later in the month, Reagan announces aide Oliver North has been fired and national security adviser John Poindexter has resigned. It is disclosed that up to $30 million in arms-sale profits were diverted to Nicaraguan rebels known as the Contras.

March 4, 1987: Reagan acknowledges in a televised speech that his Iranian initiative deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages deal, saying, “It was a mistake.”

Oct. 23, 1987: Senate rejects Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork for the Supreme Court.

Dec. 8-10, 1987: Summit in Washington, D.C. Reagan, Gorbachev sign treaty to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear forces, but a disagreement over Star Wars blocks progress on a strategic arms reduction treaty.

May 29-June 2, 1988: Summit in Moscow. Reagan and Gorbachev exchange ratified texts of the treaty, discuss strategic and conventional arms and stroll in Red Square.

Nov. 8, 1988: Vice President George H.W. Bush defeats Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis for the presidency.

Dec. 7, 1988: Summit in New York City. Gorbachev’s plan to reduce Soviet armed forces is discussed. President-elect Bush takes part.

January 1989: Returns to California after second term ends.

November 1990: Publishes his memoir, “An American Life.”

Nov. 4, 1991: Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., is dedicated. President Bush and former Presidents Reagan, Carter, Ford and Nixon attend.

Nov. 5, 1994: Discloses he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Jan. 12, 2001: Breaks his hip in a fall at his home.

Aug. 8, 2001: Daughter Maureen dies of cancer.

Oct. 11, 2001: Becomes the longest-lived president, having lived 33,120 days. The nation’s second chief executive, John Adams, lived 33,119 days, from 1735 to 1826.

July 12, 2003: Navy commissions its newest aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, the first carrier to be named for a living president.

June 5, 2004: Reagan dies at 93.

The Associated Press

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