Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the United States and he certainly left his mark on the nation. Today he is still known as one of the most talked-about and famous presidents and history books have a lot to say about him. From amending prayer in schools to his “reaganomics” policy to being the oldest president when elected into office, there are plenty of fun facts about Ronald Reagan. Yet you probably did not know about the items on our list of 10 incredibly shocking Ronald Reagan secrets.
From his reputation for being good-looking (and apparently then some) to his weird affinity for nakedness, Reagan definitely had a few interesting tidbits about himself. This list is compiled to portray a different side to the president we mostly associate with his economic changes and winning smile. While he made a splash on screen before coming into his presidency, he also made waves while serving. We hope you enjoy this list and discover that there is more to this late United States leader than you may have thought!
While this list details ten of the most shocking facts about Ronald Reagan, we are sure that you will find even more unknown relics if you peruse the Internet on your own. Happy reading and fact-hunting!
10. He once worked as a dishwasher
Why is this a weird fact? Well, he was a dishwasher in a sorority house. Back in college, Reagan was known as “Dutch” and belonged to the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. While trying to eke out a living while attending Eureka College, Reagan took up a job washing dishes at a women’s dormitory. He also worked in Tau Kappa Epsilon’s frat house as a waiter and worked during the summer season as a lifeguard. While he had a scholarship, he was pursuing higher education during The Great Depression, so he had to make ends meet somehow. Could his work in the sorority house have planted the seeds for his later life?
9. He helped the military with a revolutionary new concept
While serving with the military in World War II, Reagan put his brains to work. He hatched a plan to use the skills and materials of Hollywood set designers and builders to help the United States military craft mini models of their enemy targets. His innovative and intelligent idea was the first part of a strategic plan to design the three-dimensional life-like sets that simulated the actual areas and targets that the United States military had to bomb. Reagan was already displaying intense war-intelligence and sophistication well before he became president, and his know-how must have been useful while he was the leading man.
8. He joined a ROTC program so he could ride horses
Back in the day, a young Ronald Reagan could not afford to rent or buy a horse, so he joined a ROTC program and rode their horses. Reagan later went on to become a rich and famous public figure, so he could ride all the horses he wanted! He actually had quite a liking for the majestic animals and was often photographed riding them on the ranch. While he starred in certain films that had him acting as a cowboy or horseback rider, Reagan was quite in-the-know about equestrian details as well. His on-screen knowledge transcended into his real life and he often pulled on his riding clothes and took to the trails. His brood of Secret Service men always followed, of course!
7. He owes his acting career to the Mafia
Reagan was able to get into the political ring thanks to Lew Wassermann, who was one of the folks in charge of the MCA and also bedding someone in the Mafia. The relationship was counted down as one of the political favors or bribes between the MCA and Mafia. The story is that Reagan was a brown-nose to the MCA, and one of the MCA bigwigs was buddy-buddy with a Mafia boss. The relationship also allowed Reagan to boost his earnings and live more comfortably before he made it big in politics. According to sources, Reagan’s wife Nancy was also doing work with the MCA, and thus, the Mafia.
6. He worked as a stand-up comedian
Back in 1954, Reagan was struggling to make ends meet and his acting career was not exactly flourishing. To make some extra money he worked for a few weeks as a stand-up comedian. If anything, the work was good practice for his eventual movie career and also helped him to become a likeable public figure and wins votes for his presidential campaign. He did his work at the Ramona Room before getting more acting gigs. Reagan certainly was quite the character, both on and off the screen. What we wouldn’t give to see some of his early stand-up work as a young man trying to make it as an actor. No doubt he used some of his jokes while running for big man on campus.
5. He let his daughter pose nude for a magazine
Reagan’s daughter Patti posed nude for More magazine at the age of 58. Claiming she had “learned to respect her body,” she displayed it for the whole world to see. Yet this was not the first time that Reagan’s daughter had let it all show for the glossy cover of a magazine. She was a model for Playboy magazine as well. Patti had a tumultuous youth, doing drugs and wasting away to a thin, emaciated mess. She got clean, beefed up, and at almost 60 years of age, owned it. We wonder how Ronald Reagan felt about his little girl being a poster child for the material that boys jerk off to.
4. In fact, he really likes nudity
We are not sure what it is with Ronald Reagan and being naked. Maybe it was from starring in Hollywood films? Whatever the reason, he was not one to shy away from some exhibitionism. He won the Most Nearly Perfect Male Figure award in 1940. It was awarded by the University of California and was a great honor indeed. The prize? A chance to pose for an art class almost in the nude. Well, almost is good enough, eh? We are sure that Reagan relished that winning victory and made the most of his time as a male model. Not only is it a great pick-up line, but great inspiration for his daughter Patti, who also spent time posing and showing a lot of skin.
3. He fought commies with Walt Disney
Both men belonged to the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, which was a group that was dedicated to ousting communist activity in the film industry. It was formed in the 1940s and included loads of elite Hollywood insiders. They believed in a “sharp revolt against a rising tide of communism, fascism, and kindred beliefs.” It makes sense that Reagan would be part of this group of people, since actors were his peers and he had a lot of exposure to those in the public eye. Members of the Alliance were commuted to testifying publicly against any suspected commies before the House Unamerican Activities Committee.
2. He was an inside informant for the FBI
When Ronald Reagan was just beginning his political career, he worked as an insider informant after World War II. Working for the FBI, Reagan was one of their confidants in the Hollywood scene and FBI agents referred to Reagan as T-10. Their documents and files have him on record and he was tasked with informing the FBI about any pro-communist activities and people in Hollywood committees and groups, such as the Screen Actors Guild. Reagan, or T-10, sent names to the FBI of people who he suspected were undercover commies or had communist tendencies. Reagan eventually quit this job and moved on to other things.
1. He was a great kisser
So said Shirley Temple. While Reagan only played a villain once on the big screen, he played plenty of other likeable characters including Shirley’s lover in That Hagen Girl. The gross part is that Reagan was 36 years old at the time while Shirley was just a seemingly-innocent 19-year-old. Reagan experienced some good times while working in Hollywood but was then called to serve in the military in 1942. When he finished in the military the studio that finally took him on paired him with Shirley, but public criticism was harsher than expected. Many people were creeped out by the older Reagan smooching on screen with a teenage Shirley. After all, this was the little curly-headed girl who danced into our hearts!