While most will likely know that late former president Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor before becoming a politician, it’s not as well known that he also had an affair with actress Doris Day. Before meeting actress Nancy Davis and turning her into the country’s first lady, Ronald had been involved in a fiery romance with Doris. Join Facts Verse as we take a look inside Doris Day’s affair with Ronald Reagan.
In 1975, Doris Day released an autobiography titled Doris Day: Her Own Story. Among many revelations that the book presented to readers was the surprising fact that Doris had once dated fellow Hollywood star Ronald Reagan. Of course, at the time of the autobiography’s publication, Ronald was only five years away from becoming the president of the United States. As Ronald’s profile grew greater and greater in the arena of politics, people became more and more interested in his former life as a Hollywood actor, as well as the romance that he had shared with Doris.
Doris and Ronald had met after being introduced by mutual friends, and the two went on to star in several films together. The two were said to have first started dating on the set of the 1951 film Storm Warning. The film was also notable for featuring Ginger Rogers, the popular dancer. The plot of the film followed Ronald as a prosecutor looking to apprehend Ku Klux Klan members that had murdered a journalist.
Although Doris and Ronald had started dating during the filming of Storm Warning, it was during the filming of their next film together that the couple’s relationship became something more serious. The two solidified their status as a Hollywood couple during the filming of 1952’s The Winning Team, a sports drama that cast Ronald in the role of a real-life baseball played named Glover Cleveland Alexander.
At the time that he had begun dating Doris, Ronald had recently become divorced from his first wife. Ronald’s first wife was a woman by the name of Jane Wyman. At the time that Doris and Ronald met, Ronald was living alone in an apartment on the Sunset Strip. The two felt strong feelings for each other, but their relationship didn’t last long.
Doris claimed that the things she liked most about Ronald were his abilities to dance and talk. Doris was certainly not alone in admiring Ronald’s gifted voice. Ronald’s voice is what led him to pursuing a career in entertainment, as he started out performing on the radio before eventually showing up on the screen. Ronald would take even greater advantage of his speaking skills as a politician.
Despite the things that Doris appreciated about Ronald, the two ended up breaking up. After the break up, Doris went on to marry third husband Martin Melcher in 1951. He was also her manager, which made their relationship complicated and uncomfortable. Doris reminisced before her death that her marriage to Martin was arguably the worst of the four marriages that she was involved in during her lifetime. Martin eventually passed away, and Doris learned that her late manager and husband had blown all of their savings.
According to legend, Doris tried to get ahold of Ronald a few decades after their break up. However, it wasn’t a romantic call. Instead, Doris was looking to enlist her former lover’s help in addressing the poor conditions of some animal shelters in the Los Angeles area. Ronald was acting as governor of California at the time, and Doris believed that he might be able to do something about the problem. Ronald never returned Doris’ call, much to her chagrin. Perhaps this is why the actress decided to reveal secrets about the politician in her autobiography a few years later.
After breaking up with Doris Day, Ronald met another actress, this time by the name of Nancy Davis. Ronald and Nancy instantly hit it off, and Nancy Davis soon became Nancy Regan. Of course, this is the same Nancy Reagan that would eventually become first lady in 1981. Many believe that Ronald made the right choice in choosing Nancy over Doris, as Nancy proved a loyal and loving wife to her husband over the years. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Ronald Reagan was born in Davenport, Iowa. Due to his marvelous speaking voice and knack for memorization, the young man was able to find himself a job covering sports games for a local radio channel. At the time, Ronald was being paid only $10 a game. However, that was more money during the time than it would be today.
Ronald had a natural demeanor on the air that listeners loved. This natural demeanor would serve Ronald well in his Hollywood career, and would prove even more beneficial during Ronald’s later days as a politician. Whereas Ronald had started out on radio covering minor league games, he was eventually covering Chicago Cubs games.
As Ronald’s profile on the airwaves was increasing, he was sent to Los Angeles to take part in a training seminar. While there, he ran into a Hollywood agent that was desperately looking for someone to fill in for an actor that had recently passed away in a tragic car crash. Ronald fit the bill, and the agent pulled him aside and asked him to screen test for the part. After the screen test was successful, Ronald was given his first Hollywood role and sent on his path to stardom.
Ronald was given a contract with Warner Bros. and started out being given just $200 a week to appear in pictures. He went on to appear in more than 50 films during his career as an actor. However, his career ended up being interrupted for a time by America’s entry into World War II.
Ronald was called upon to serve during World War II. However, the actor was able to eschew having to fight in any battles given the fact that he suffered from poor eyesight. Instead, Ronald was enlisted to use his natural talents to narrate and star in films meant to stir up patriotic fervor and support for overseas troops on the home front.
It was after Ronald’s service is World War II that he met and married actress Jane Wyman. Although the couple was blessed with a first child, Ronald’s tenuous success as an actor prevented him from enjoying his new family life. Although we may think of Ronald as a star today, he was simply an average working actor during most of his career. In fact, many Hollywood historians argue that Ronald would be a much more obscure actor than he is if it wasn’t for the fact that he later became president of the United States.
Ronald divorced from Jane and took up with Doris Day. The romance between Ronald and Doris was short-lived, and Ronald became married to Nancy Davis in 1952. In 1954, Ronald was offered a job hosting the program General Electric Theater. This proved a big success for the fledgling actor, who worked steadily for the next decade. In the mid-1960s, Ronald quit acting entirely to focus on politics.
While it was considered odd at the time for an actor to transition into politics, the idea made sense. Ronald was able to use the communication skills that he had developed during his career in entertainment to talk to the American people more effectively than any president before him. However, whether this skilled communication was beneficial for the American people remains a topic of debate.
Although some may wonder how Ronald’s life may have turned out if he had chosen Doris Day instead of Nancy Davis, many agree that he made the right choice in choosing Nancy. Nancy proved a strong and reliable partner for Ronald over the course of his life. In fact, it was once proved that Nancy was legitimately willing to lay down her life to take a bullet for her husband!
On March 20, 1981, Ronald was leaving a hotel through a side door when a would-be assassin made an attempt on his life. Ronald was shot, and was subsequently rushed to a local hospital by the Secret Service. At the hospital, doctors were shocked by the extent of the bullet’s impact. The bullet had entered through Ronald’s left armpit, then bounced off a rib and punctured a lung before stopping less than an inch away from the then-president’s heart. Thankfully, Ronald survived the serious injury, though he lost lots of blood.
Understandably, Nancy was devastated by the incident. However, few could have predicted the unique way that Nancy reacted to the assassination attempt on her husband. The bullet had entered Ronald on his left side, which is normally the side that Nancy walked beside him. Nancy’s feelings were that if she had been walking where she was supposed to during the assassination attempt, she could’ve saved her husband from the impact of the bullet. However, things luckily ended up turning out okay for both of them.
Doris Day may have been an insurmountably beautiful Golden Age Hollywood star, but chances are that she wouldn’t have taken a bullet for Ronald. This story is one of many reasons that historians believe that Ronald made the right choice in choosing Nancy over Doris, although Doris would’ve certainly made an interesting first lady. Ronald died in 2004, at the age of 93. Nancy died in 2016, at the age of 94. Doris died in 2019, at the age of 97. Together or apart, actor or politician, they are all equal now.
Although Ronald may not have been the biggest name in Hollywood during his acting career, he still took on some notable roles before retiring to focus on politics. Comment down below to share what your favorite Ronald Reagan role is, or if you were surprised to learn that the late former president was once romantically involved with Doris Day. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!