On June 5, 2004, Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, died in Los Angeles at age 93 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Here are 5 things you probably didn't know about Ronald Reagan.
He Was Almost Killed By A Chimpanzee
Ronald Reagan became famous for his role in Bedtime for Bonzo in 1951, which co-starred a chimpanzee. Peggy, the chimp's name, grew enamored with the tie Reagan wore in one scene and began pulling on it like a rope. Refusing to let go, she squeezed the knot to the size of a fingernail. After finally being released, Reagan was tended to by crew personnel who had to cut the tie off his neck.
Jelly Beans Became a Reagan Trademark
Reagan began snacking on jelly beans in 1966, shortly after he gave up pipe smoking. Goelitz Candy, which produced his favored jelly bean, sent him shipments from 1967 to 1975 when Reagan served as Governor of California. The company continued to ship its jelly beans to the White House throughout Reagan's eight years in office. They were even granted authorization to distribute jelly bean jars bearing the official presidential seal to be given out at functions.
He Was An Informant For The FBI
Reagan served as the Screen Actors Guild chairman from the late 1940s into the early 1950s. In 1947, he worked with the FBI as an informer, providing the Feds with the names of actors suspected of being Communist Party members or sympathizers. J Edgar Hoover, who regarded Reagan as an ally, took an interest in the development of his political career. Shortly before Reagan launched his candidacy for governor of California, the FBI discovered that his adopted son, Michael, had unknowingly become good friends with the son of Mafia boss Joseph 'Joe Bananas' Bonnano. Hoover arranged for a discreet tip-off to Reagan, warning him to end the association before it became an embarrassment.
His Nickname, The "Gipper," Came From a Movie Reagan was given the nicknames Ronnie and Dutch as a child due to his Dutch boy haircut. However, it was during his time in Hollywood that he earned his most famous nickname, Gipper. He starred in the film Knute Rockne, All American as football player George Gipp. While on his deathbed, the character gives the iconic line "Win just one for the Gipper."
He Was the Voice of the Chicago Cubs
After graduating from Eureka College in 1932, Reagan began his professional career as a sports announcer for WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa, and became the voice of the Chicago Cubs. But rather than being at the game, he would recreate the action from nothing but a slip of paper typed by a telegraph operator who was transcribing plays sent by Morse code. On June 7, 1934, with the Cubs and the Cardinals tied 0-0 in the ninth inning, with Billy Jurges at-bat and Dizzy Dean out on the mound, the line went dead. Rather than lose his audience, Reagan improvised a streak of foul balls that lasted nearly twelve minutes until the wire came back.