Former First Lady Nancy Reagan Dies At 94

Publish Date
Monday, 7 March 2016, 2:20PM

Former first lady Nancy Reagan, who joined her husband on a storybook journey from Hollywood to the White House, has passed away. She was 94.

Reagan died at her home in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure, according to her spokeswoman, Joanne Drake of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

She was born Anne Frances Robbins in New York City on July 6, 1921. Her mother and father separated before her birth.

Her mother, Edith, toured with a theater company while Nancy lived with an aunt and uncle. Her mother married Chicago neurosurgeon Loyal Davis when the future first lady was young. He adopted her and she settled down in Chicago, before she adopted the stage name Nancy Davis and headed west to Hollywood.

After signing a seven-year contract with MGM in 1949, Nancy Davis went on to make 11 films until 1956, but her career almost ended before it began. Her name appeared on a list of people thought to have been communist sympathisers in 1949.

"She got a mailing that was for another Nancy Davis, and this other Nancy Davis was in connection with one of those Hollywood blacklists that were going on in the Hollywood red-hunting days," biographer Lou Cannon said.

Upset, she turned to a friend for help and he set up a meeting with the president of the Screen Actors Guild, a dashing leading man named Ronald Reagan.

It would be the start of one of Hollywood's and Washington's most enduring love stories. In fact, her final screen appearance was playing opposite her future husband in a movie called "Hellcats of the Navy."

The two wed on March 4, 1952, in a private ceremony at a small church near Los Angeles. She began her role as a wife of a politician when her husband won the 1966 California gubernatorial race.

Watch the trailer for "Hellcats of the Navy" here...