From Actor to Politician: 1966, Ronald Reagan's Pivotal Year

1966, Ronald Reagan's Pivotal Year
Bill Ray / Time life Pictures / Getty Images

On the Trail
Many snickered when Ronald Reagan, 54 years old at the time, announced in early 1966 that he would seek the governorship of California. Reagan had never been a big star, he had not appeared on the big screen since 1957, and his political experience was very limited — he had served as president of the Screen Actors Guild and on a pair of corporate boards. But after hearing Reagan speak in support of Barry Goldwater, a number of powerful state Republicans felt he was the ideal candidate to put up against the two-term liberal incumbent California governor, Edmund "Pat" Brown.

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