FORMER US First Lady Nancy Reagan has died at her home in Bel Air at the age of 94, agencies report. She was the widow of the late Ronald Reagan, President from 1981-89, who died in 2004. Ex-actress Nancy was well known as the figurehead of the ‘Just Say No’ campaign against drugs in the 1980s.
Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004, after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Despite her own health setbacks, however, Mrs Reagan remained active in politics, particularly in relation to stem-cell research. When Ronald Reagan was shot in a 1981 assassination attempt, Nancy Reagan never left the hospital where the president was treated until he was released.
Her official White House biography quotes her as saying, “My life really began when I married my husband.” Her entrance at a debate for Republican hopefuls prompted a standing ovation from the audience. She will be buried next to her husband, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
As first lady, she sought to emulate the style of one of her predecessors, Jackie Kennedy. Public opinion was also swayed by accusations that Mrs Reagan had a frosty personality, often consulted astrologers, and ordered the dismissal of White House chief of staff Donald Regan in 1987.
“I see the first lady as another means to keep a president from becoming isolated,” she once said. “I talk to people. They tell me things. And if something is about to become a problem, I’m not above calling a staff person and asking about it. I’m a woman who loves her husband and I make no apologies for looking out for his personal and political welfare.”She was born Anne Francis Robbins in New York City in 1921, but everyone called her Nancy from the start.
At the time her mother Edith Luckett was acting on Broadway but soon after she divorced her car salesman husband Kenneth Robbins and joined a traveling theater company.As Edith traveled, Nancy lived with her aunt in Flushing, Queens, until she was six years old. In 1929, Edith married a neurosurgeon called Loyal Davis, who adopted Nancy and moved the family to Chicago.