Ranked #10: Reagan had a huge impact on the office of the presidency and the American landscape. He projected strong leadership and an alternative direction for the country at a time when the country felt it was losing ground to the rest of the world.
Summary: Reagan was courteous, approachable, cheerful, collected and idealistic. He was an actor who starred in some fairly forgettable movies sometimes playing second banana to animals. It was perhaps this lack of success that drove him into politics. He was the oldest president ever elected and left the office just weeks before his 78th birthday.
Bio: Reagan was vigorous and active for a man his age and enjoyed a regular workout schedule which featured strength and cardio training. Reagan was the first president to have had a divorce. He was known as the Great Communicator during his time in office. At the same time, he was known to delegate much of his responsibilities to his staff.
According to some people in his cabinet, he was described as awkward at personal confrontation, bashful about proclaiming his authority, a passive figure, unattached from everyday process, testy for details and lacking at times the basic understanding of major issues. It was eventually uncovered that an astrologer hired by his wife influenced his daily schedule but he denied that it had any effect on policy or any important decisions.
He typically worked 9 to 5 everyday with two hours of personal staff time which he often spent relaxing and even taking a nap. He was once quoted at saying “Show me an executive who works long, hard hours, and I'll show you a bad executive.” He eventually worked together with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to achieve a peaceful outcome to the Cold War. A big outcome no doubt. He also established “trickle down” economics during his time in office which was a mixed bag because it was a boost for business and the national debt at the same time. He died in 2004.
Pros: A peaceful resolution of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Great public speaker.
Cons: The Iran Contra Crisis. Strategic Defense Initiative. Assassination attempt.
Born: February 6, 1911, Tampico, IL
Died: June 5, 2004 (aged 93) in Simi Valley, CA
Term: January 20, 1981 to January 20, 1989 (two terms)
Political Party: Republican
Religion: Christian Church
Education: Eureka College (1932)
Marriage: January 26, 1940, to Jane Wyman (1914–2007), divorced, 1948; March 4, 1952, to Nancy Davis (1923– )
Children: Maureen Elizabeth (1941–2001); Michael Edward (1945– ); Patricia Ann (1952– ); Ronald Prescott (1958– )