- (1911–2004)Born in Illinois, Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, began acting in Westerns in 1940 with Santa Fe Trail, in which he played General George Armstrong Custer opposite Errol Flynn. While often maligned for his pedestrian acting abilities, Reagan made a trilogy of Westerns in the 1950s that are often considered minor classics: Law and Order (1953), opposite Dorothy Malone; Cattle Queen of Montana(1954), opposite Barbara Stanwyck; and Tennessee’s Partner(1955), opposite Rhonda Fleming. In the 1960s Reagan left his film career for politics and was elected governor of California for two terms, beginning in 1966, and president for two terms, beginning in 1981. As president, Reagan cultivated his cowboy persona from his Hollywood days, regularly appearing on horseback and in Western dress in campaign photographs, and he was often criticized for governing like a cowboy.
Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. Paul Varner. 2012.
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