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Before he became the 40th president of the United States of
America or even governor of California, Ronald Reagan was a veteran Hollywood
actor who, though he played mostly in
Warner Bros.' B-films, still made several memorable movies in the 1930's,
'40s and '50s. He was never nominated for any Academy Awards, but had the
honor of serving as president of the Screen Actors' Guild, a precursor
to his political career.
- "Alright. I know. I'm always wrong. I always have been, ever
since I can remember." --as Drake McHugh in KINGS ROW (1942).
- "Where's the rest of me?!" --as Drake McHugh in KINGS
- "I don't know what there is about the pelts of dead little
animals that makes 'em so attractive to women, when one little mouse scares
'em silly." --as Professor John Palmer in SHE'S WORKING HER WAY THROUGH
Reagan playing a supporting role as the carefree playboy in one
of his early films, DARK VICTORY (1939)
starring Bette Davis and
Geraldine Fitzgerald (both
with Reagan at right) as well as
Humphrey Bogart, George Brent and Henry
Travers. This drama about a terminally ill woman was nominated for three Oscars including
Victory" (clip) by
Steiner (a .MP3 file).
A poster from the first of Reagan's two most famous films and the
one that introduced "The Gipper" persona he later used in his political career,
KNUTE ROCKNE -- ALL AMERICAN (1940). This football biopic about Notre
Dame's famous coach of the 1910s and '20s features Reagan as Rockne's standout player George Gipp (aka "The
Gipper"). Honored with inclusion on the Library of Congress' National Film Registry,
KNUTE ROCKNE premiered in the Fighting Irish's hometown of South Bend, Indiana
on October 4, 1940 and stars Pat O'Brien and Donald Crisp.
"Now I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for
years. None of you ever knew George Gipp. He was long before your time,
but you all know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame. And the last thing
he said to me, 'Rock,' he said, 'sometime when the team is up against it
and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all
they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be
then, Rock,' he said, 'but I'll know about it and I'll be happy.' " --Pat O'Brien as Knute Rockne attributing a quote to Ronald Reagan as George
Gipp in KNUTE ROCKNE, ALL AMERICAN (1940).
A still with Ann Sheridan
from the film Reagan always considered his best, KINGS ROW (1942). Directed by
Wood and based on the Henry Bellamann novel,
this drama featured Reagan as Drake McHugh, best friend of the protagonist
Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) and a carefree charmer who eventually
loses both legs in a rail yard accident.
KINGS ROW earned Oscar nominations in the Best Picture, Best
Director and Best Cinematography categories and featured such noteworthy cast
members as Claude Rains, Judith
Anderson, Harry Davenport, Charles
Coburn and Minor Watson.
Music Clip from KINGS ROW:
Title" (clip) by
Wolfgang Korngold (a .MP3 file).
(For help opening any of the above files, visit the plug-ins page.)
lobby card from STORM WARNING (1951), a drama in which
Reagan plays a District Attorney trying some Klansmen for a murder. The film
also stars Doris Day,
Ginger Rogers and Steve
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