Former SAG Board Member Nancy Reagan Mourned by Actors' Union: "An Exceptional Strength of Spirit"

Nancy and Ronald Reagan (1985)
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After the couple left the White House following two terms in 1989, the Reagans returned to live in California, splitting time between their Bel-Air home and the 350-acre ranch near Santa Barbara that Ron purchased in 1951. He died in June 2004 at age 93.

Nancy Davis might never have become Nancy Reagan were it not for her SAG service.

SAG-AFTRA on Sunday paid tribute to former Screen Actors Guild board member and first lady Nancy Reagan, who died earlier in the day at age 94.

“Nancy Reagan led a remarkable life, from actor to the California governor’s mansion to the White House," SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard said in a statement. "She fully committed herself to whatever role she took on in life and overcame adversity with an exceptional strength of spirit. The union — and the nation — has suffered a great loss today.”

The then Nancy Davis joined SAG in 1947. She was appointed a SAG board replacement on Aug. 14, 1950, and soon thereafter joined the newly-divorced Ronald Reagan in the SAG boardroom, at the first meeting she attended.

Their encounter is eerily memorialized in the minutes of that Oct. 9, 1950, meeting: “President Reagan welcomed Nancy Davis to her first board meeting.” They married 17 months later.

Nancy Davis Reagan served on the board for almost 10 years, and Ronald Reagan for 14 years, including as SAG president from 1947-52 and 1959-60. He resigned in June 1960, after leading the guild during a momentous strike, and she did so the following month.

A SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles awards ceremony on Sunday began with a moment of silence in Nancy Reagan’s honor.

3/7/2016 3:40 p.m. UPDATE An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Nancy Davis first met Ronald Reagan at a SAG board meeting. According to a press report, they had previously dated briefly then drafted apart.

Email: jh@jhandel.com