Movie Star Memories: Ronald Reagan

In this blog series, I’ll describe my impressions of various movie stars I’ve met over the years. Hope you enjoy reading about your favorites, and that you’ll be inspired to check out my Hollywood novel Dream Factory, which is available in both paperback and electronic formats through

When former Hollywood movie star Ronald Reagan served as president of the United States during the 1980s, I encountered him several times in person at the Kennedy Center Honors, an annual event in Washington, D.C. that celebrates the professional legacies of some of the best American performing artists.

He was smiling whenever I looked at him — and his smile seemed to light up his eyes. That mesmerizing smile was what struck me most about him.

While I didn’t have a chance to talk with him directly, I did overhear some of his comments to others, and they were all lighthearted musings about the various artists who were being celebrated.

Ronald Reagan actually seemed to me to be more like a boy than a man. He seemed too  playful, somehow, to be the leader of the free world. But when I consider how he served as president, I think he was really one of the best free world leaders the world has ever seen. A serious demeanor simply wasn’t necessary for his success.

Years later, when I visited his presidential library in California after his death, I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw a portrait of him composed entirely of jellybeans — the candy he loved to snack on at the White House. It reminded me of the playful boy-man I’d seen joking around at the Kennedy Center Honors years ago.

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