Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States. Prior to that, he was the 33rd Governor of California, and 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 graduating, Reagan moved first to Iowa to work as a radio broadcaster and then, in 1937, to Los Angeles 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 as a 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 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 and in 1976, but won both the nomination and general election in 1980, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter.