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Ronald Wilson Reagan (/ˈrɒnəld ˈwɪlsən ˈreɪɡən/; February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 33rd Governor of California from 1967 to 1975, and was previously a radio, film and television actor.
Born in Tampico, Illinois and raised in Dixon, Reagan was educated at Eureka College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and sociology. After his graduation, Reagan moved first to Iowa to work as a radio broadcaster and then in to Los Angeles, California in 1937 where he began a career as an actor, first in films and later television. Some of his most notable films include Knute Rockne, All American, Kings Row, and Bedtime for Bonzo. Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and later spokesman for General Electric; his start in politics occurred during his work for GE.
Originally a member of the Democratic Party, his positions began shifting rightward in the late 1950s, and he switched to the Republican Party in 1962. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but won the nomination in 1980, eventually losing to incumbent Ted Kennedy.
In 1994, the former governor disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier in the year; he died ten years later at the age of 93. He is fondly remembered by members of the right-wing of the Republican Party, and was the last "Goldwater Republican" to lead a Republican ticket.