Nancy Reagan, actress, activist and former first lady of the United States, died yesterday of congestive heart failure at her home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, according to her spokesperson at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. She was 94.
Born Anne Frances Robbins on July 6, 1921, the New York native, who later took the stage name Nancy Davis, is best known as the wife of Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. president. While often painted as merely the vigilantly protective “woman behind the man,” she was a political force in her own right, spearheading the “Just Say No” anti-drug crusade of the 1980s and later championing embryonic stem-cell research.
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President Barack Obama remembered Reagan, a graceful, stylish conservative Republican who brought more than a touch of Hollywood glamor to the White House, for her compassionate efforts advocating for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Her husband was diagnosed with the disease in 1994.
“Our former first lady redefined the role in her time here," Obama said. "Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer's, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives.”
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In honor of her extensive charitable work, commitment to Alzheimer's advocacy and her historic role as first lady, here are 10 of Nancy Reagan’s most memorable quotes:
1. “You learn something out of everything, and you come to realize more than ever that we're all here for a certain space of time, and then it's going to be over, and you better make this count.”
2. “There's a big, wonderful world out there for you. It belongs to you. It's exciting and stimulating and rewarding. Don't cheat yourselves out of this promise.”
3. “Feminism is the ability to choose what you want to do.”
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4. "Drugs take away the dream from every child’s heart and replace it with a nightmare, and it’s time we in America stand up and replace those dreams."
5. "Each day is different, and you get up, put one foot in front of the other, and go, and love; just love."
6. “I must say acting was good training for the political life which lay ahead for us.”
7. “I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out.”
8. “The movies were custard compared to politics.”
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9. “Just say no to drugs.”
10. “To my young friends out there: Life can be great, but not when you can't see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to his children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life.”
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