Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). Born in Illinois, Reagan moved to Hollywood in the 1930s, where he became an actor, President of the Screen Actor's Guild, and a spokesman for General Electric. Reagan was a prominent New Deal Democrat until switching parties in 1962, becoming a Republican. After delivering his famous "Time for Choosing" speech, he was persuaded to seek the California Governorship, which he won in 1966 and again in 1970. Defeated for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 and 1976, he won the nomination, as well as the election, in 1980.
Reagan began his presidency by introducing fiscally-expansive economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics." After surviving an assassination attempt in his first term, experiencing a period of economic growth, and ordering a military operation in Grenada, Reagan was reelected in a landslide in 1984. His administration soon saw a number of scandals, most notably the Iran-Contra Affair.
Reagan instituted his policy of "peace through strength" in an arms race with the Soviet Union. He rejected détente and confronted Communism, famously portraying the USSR as an "Evil Empire" and supporting anti-Communist movements worldwide. Reagan negotiated with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to shrink both countries' nuclear arsenals and help bring a peaceful end to the Cold War.
Reagan left office in 1989 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1994. He died in 2004 at the age of ninety-three.