Not only was Ronald Reagan a famous actor before he ran for president, but he is similar to Trump in other ways besides their celebrity status – their political opinions and how they changed throughout their lives shared many similarities. Politics aside, Reagan was a very talented performer. Keep reading for a better look into one of our most successful president’s career as a film actor, then president of the Screen Actors’ Guild, and then eventually his transition into US President:
(Written by: Jenna Moloney)
In present-day Trump’s America, I see a lot of social media posts saying things along the lines of “this is why we shouldn’t vote celebrities into office.” After Oprah Winfrey’s recent Golden Globes speech, rumors circled around suggesting she may run for president in the 2020 election (although she has since shut down these rumors.) I agree that we shouldn’t be voting celebrities into the Oval Office, but rather we should be choosing politicians with years of experience in this field. However, we can’t forget that we once had a celebrity elected president before Donald Trump – and he served two very successful terms.
Ronald Reagan was a successful actor, working with a Warner Bros. contract throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and eventually losing all its momentum in the 1950s. Before becoming governor of California and going on to become President of the United States in 1981, he was president of the Screen Actors Guild (nominated for this position by Gene Kelly, a famous dancer and actor) for six one-year terms (1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, and 1959).
One important movie he starred in was The Hasty Heart, which was released in 1949. In this black-and-white film, Reagan plays a World War II soldier recovering from malaria in a military recovery center. His friends and fellow soldiers are also recovering with him –all of them from different countries. At the beginning of the movie, it is announced that the war is officially over, when the men are almost fully recovered from their injuries and illnesses, so the movie is primarily about the journey of friendship and the special bond of brotherhood created in such a harsh journey of war.
A new man from Scotland comes to the center to recover from his illness, and he is the epitome of toxic masculinity. He does not want any favors, he does not want to waste any time on small talk, and he does not believe in kindness, friendship, or selflessness in others. He believes everyone has an alternative motive for showing kindness to other people. However, after weeks of the soldiers showing him kindness, he begins to discover what friendship truly is, and he even falls in love with the nurse. He explores, for the first time in his life, what happiness is.
In this film, Reagan plays a man named “Yank,” a play on the word “Yankee,” because he is proudly from America. Even when the man from Scotland offers him a place to stay after they both recover, Yank says he had been dreaming of the land he is from, a small town in Illinois, and he just couldn’t wait to return there. He sticks up for the soldier who does not speak any English on a few different occasions, and he is ultimately the one who speaks to the Scottish man to get him to change his tough exterior and allow himself to be happy and kind. Ultimately, he plays a character that the American people would be proud to later call their president. (Even if his opening line was one of comic relief: “why don’t you drop dead?” – addressed to a man trying to wake up the soldiers at an early hour.)
After his acting career died out, Reagan’s legacy grew. As President of the USA, he achieved so much and is still regarded as a very successful president. He ended the Cold War, created 16 million new jobs with “Reaganomics,” and ensured that the US remained a military superpower by increasing defense spending and troop levels. He reduced both America’s and Russia’s nuclear weapon count, and he gave voice to ”thrift, patriotism, and hard work.” He also cut tax rates and eliminated tax shelters. These things are only a portion of the things Reagan did for our country, and he is still a very highly regarded president.
Similar to Trump, Reagan was a well-known celebrity before he was elected president. He is also similar to Trump in that he changed his political views along the way. Reagan, in a 1948 radio broadcast, explains how he agrees with Truman in that everyone should have health security, “regardless of residence, station, or race – everywhere in the United States.” (Harry Truman, November 1945). However, when Reagan runs for president as a Republican seventeen years later, he was transformed from a self-proclaimed “hemophiliac liberal” to a traditional conservative. Trump did almost the exact same thing. In a 1999 interview on Meet the Press, Trump declares that he is “pro-choice.” Look at him now.
(Don’t believe me? Look here: https://spectator.org/65225_when-ronald-reagan-had-liberal-values/)
But I am getting ahead of myself. All political views and opinions aside, I am here to tell you about Reagan’s acting career. I believe Ronald Reagan’s career as a motion picture performer was successful because of his looks and his voice. He had a deep, bold voice that sounded like it was coming from the vocal chords of a hero. He had an attractive face that was perfect for romance movies and, as his voice was, to play a heroic character. He portrayed emotions on screen very well – especially sadness and anger. His facial expressions were subtle enough for the camera to pick up perfectly without being obnoxious and overly obvious. Ronald Reagan was an amazing entertainer. I would recommend his films to anyone, especially my favorite, The Hasty Heart.
See Reagan’s Greatest Achievement’s as US President Here: http://humanevents.com/2011/02/06/top-10-reagan-achievements/
Read About Reagan’s Successes as President of SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) Here: https://www.sagaftra.org/ronald-reagan
Look at Reagan’s Official IMDb Credit Here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001654/
And a More Detailed Biography Here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001654/bio