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Nancy Reagan: The Role Of A Lifetime

Airs Monday, February 7, 2011 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: President Reagan and Nancy Reagan wave from their limousine during the Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC, January 20, 1980.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan dating at an unknown restaurant, 1949.
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Above: Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan dating at an unknown restaurant, 1949.

President Reagan and Nancy Reagan wave from Air Force One, February 19, 1981.
Enlarge this image

Above: President Reagan and Nancy Reagan wave from Air Force One, February 19, 1981.

Criticized for taking a seemingly traditional role as first lady during an era focused on women’s rights, those within Ronald Reagan’s inner circle recognized Nancy Reagan as much more than the supportive and stylish spouse who redecorated the White House.

Historians have now concluded that Nancy Reagan was one of the most influential first ladies in modern times. She had far-reaching impact on personnel and policy issues. She is credited with moving President Reagan to a more moderate position toward the Soviet Union and getting her husband to publicly admit his involvement in Iran-Contra, a move that likely saved his presidency.

She was, and continues to be, a formidable and influential political adviser, skills she uses as she guards her husband’s legacy and champions stem cell research.

In an extended interview with Judy Woodruff, Nancy Reagan reflects on her childhood, her life as an actress, her marriage to Ronald Reagan, their lifelong romance and her role as his most trusted adviser in a political career that would take them from the back lots of Hollywood, to the California governor’s mansion and then to the White House.

Video

Trailer: Nancy Reagan: The Role Of A Lifetime

Watch the full episode. See more Nancy Reagan.

Above: Criticized for taking a seemingly traditional role as first lady during an era focused on women’s rights, those within Ronald Reagan’s inner circle recognized Nancy Reagan as much more than the supportive and stylish spouse who redecorated the White House. In an extended interview with Judy Woodruff, Nancy Reagan reflects on her childhood, her life as an actress, her marriage to Ronald Reagan, their lifelong romance and her role as his most trusted adviser in a political career that would take them from the back lots of Hollywood, to the California governor’s mansion and then to the White House.

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