Remembering Nancy Reagan's brief Hollywood career

LOS ANGELES -- Before Nancy Reagan became a fixture in the national consciousness and on home television sets, the late first lady also shared the big screen with the likes of Barbara Stanwyck, Ava Gardner, Glenn Ford and Ray Milland in her short career as a Hollywood actress in the post-war era.

See Full Article

After a few years on Broadway, Reagan, then Nancy Davis, moved to California and signed a seven-year contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer, leading to roles in 11 features -- her last of which was the 1958 feature "Crash Landing," a middling Fred F. Sears drama about a pilot (Gary Merrill) reflecting on his troubled marriage (to Reagan's character) in the midst of an engine crisis over the Atlantic.

She was never the biggest star, but she had her moments in a wide variety of genres from noir to melodrama, often as loving and supportive wives and girlfriends.

THE DOCTOR AND THE GIRL (1949)

Nancy Reagan's first big screen role was in director Curtis Bernhardt's drama about a wealthy doctor (Glenn Ford) who defies his family's wishes by opening a practice in a poorer neighbourhood. Reagan played the main character's sister Mariette, who is engaged to a class-lusting physician (played by Warner Anderson).

EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE (1950)

In this Mervyn LeRoy-directed melodrama about a married couple torn apart by the husband's infidelities, Reagan played Helen Lee, a socialite and best friend to Barbara Stanwyck's wronged wife. James Mason played Stanwyck's philandering husband, one of whose consorts was Ava Gardner. "The ladies all wear expensive garments and the gentlemen drink expensive booze. But that still doesn't elevate the effort above the level of hopeful pretense," wrote New York Times critic Bosley Crowther in his review.

SHADOW ON THE WALL (1950)

After a run of playing mostly wives and girlfriends, Reagan got a particularly meaty and serious role in this Pat Jackson-directed psychological crime thriller about a 6-year-old girl (Gigi Perreau) who loses her memory after witnessing the murder of her stepmother. Reagan played a doctor who endeavours to help cure the girl and makes some critical discoveries about the nature of the murder along the way.

The New York Times said Reagan gave a "beautiful and convincing" performance.

THE NEXT VOICE YOU HEAR ... (1950)

When God starts giving radio broadcasts in this odd little William A. Wellman film, a married couple (James Whitmore and Nancy Reagan) and their 11-year-old son living in suburban Los Angeles are forced to confront their own faith. Reagan was praised for her "delightful" performance as the kind, gentle and very pregnant wife in the film.

NIGHT INTO MORNING (1951)

Reagan plays a widow who saves Ray Milland from his depression and drunkenness after his wife and child die tragically in a fire. Milland and Reagan were both applauded for their performances, but the melancholy story was seen as a bit of a letdown.

HELLCATS OF THE NAVY (1957)

This WWII-set film about a submarine commander charting minefields off the Japanese coast marks the only time Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan, already married for five years, shared the big screen. As the land-locked love interest, Nancy Reagan didn't have much to do besides fret though. It's far from a classic -- in fact it's somewhat derided -- but the film remains an interesting document of historical value just by nature of the fact that it features the future President and first lady.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Coming for you: Who is Kendrick talking about in new song?

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Kendrick Lamar called out rappers by name in his infamous "Control" verse released in 2013, but the internet is playing the guessing game about his target in a new song. Lamar released "The Heart Part 4" on Friday and caused a frenzy on social media as fans and listeners tried to figure out whom the rap prince was referring to in the buzzed track. Source
  • Amy Schumer drops out of live-action Barbie movie

    Entertainment CBC News
    Amy Schumer won't be playing Barbie after all. The comedian has dropped out of a live-action film based on the Mattel doll due to scheduling conflicts, according to entertainment industry publication Variety. The movie had been scheduled to start shooting on June 23, but Schumer has a lengthy promotional tour for her comedy, Snatched, which opens in May. Source
  • Disney CEO: 'Last Jedi' not changed due to Fisher's death

    Entertainment CTV News
    SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Disney CEO Bob Iger says the upcoming "Star Wars" sequel has not been changed due to the death of Carrie Fisher. Fisher completed filming her role as Princess Leia in "The Last Jedi" before her death following a heart attack in December. Source
  • 'No one should be making money off a black dead body:' White artist's Emmett Till painting sparks protest

    Entertainment CBC News
    An abstract painting of lynching victim Emmett Till on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York was the subject of a weeklong protest by a black artist who decried the canvas as "an injustice to the black community" because it was painted by a white woman. Source
  • 'Handmaid's Tale' adaptation draws ire of Trump supporters

    Entertainment CTV News
    Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s classic novel about a dystopian world has drawn the ire of some Donald Trump supporters, who apparently believe the new series based on the 32-year-old novel is a slight against his administration. Source
  • Amy Schumer drops out of Barbie film

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Amy Schumer won't be playing Barbie after all. Variety reports the comedian has dropped out of a live-action film based on the Mattel doll due to scheduling conflicts. Variety says the movie was scheduled to start shooting on June 23, but Schumer has a lengthy promotional tour for her comedy, "Snatched," which opens in May. Source
  • 'Bachelor' Nick Viall 'heartbroken' William Shatner hates him

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    U.S. reality TV star Nick Viall has invited Star Trek icon William Shatner to join him on Dancing With The Stars, after the actor urged fans to vote him off the show The Bachelor hunk admits he was “heartbroken” when Shatner launched a campaign to get him booted off the news season of DWTS, which started on Monday. Source
  • 'She loves Canadians'; Selena Gomez laughs off relationship joke

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Selena Gomez’s make-up artist awkwardly referenced her love life in their joint Instagram video by joking she “loves Canadians”. The singer appeared with her make-up artist Hung Vanngo in an Instagram video and they gave a shout out to their fans around the world. Source
  • Movie reviews: Unpredictable space flick 'Life' ratchets up the tension

    Entertainment CTV News
    LIFE: 4 STARS Best selling romance writer Jude Deveraux declares that there are no new stories, just interesting, inventive ways of taking the journey with characters. “In romances,” she says, “the characters are going to fall in love with each other; you know that when you see the syrupy cover. Source
  • Netflix/Marvel's 'Iron Fist' derided by both viewers and critics

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- If your web connection seems sluggish while you're watching "Iron Fist," don't blame your internet provider. The problem is the listless pace of this new Netflix series. But such languor isn't the only failing of this latest offering from the Marvel factory, judging from critical pans and fan unrest since the 13-episode season was unveiled last week. Source