Neil Reagan

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Neil Reagan
Ronald Reagan with brother Neil 1912.jpg
Neil with his baby brother, Ronald, c. 1912
John Neil Reagan

(1908-09-16)September 16, 1908
DiedDecember 11, 1996(1996-12-11) (aged 88)
Alma materEureka College, B.A. 1933
Political partyRepublican
Ruth Elizabeth "Bess" Hoffman
(m. 1935)
Parent(s)Jack Reagan
Nelle Wilson
RelativesRonald Reagan (younger brother)

John Neil Reagan (September 16, 1908 – December 11, 1996) was an American radio station manager, CBS senior producer, and senior vice president of McCann Erickson. He was the older brother of United States President Ronald Reagan.

Life and career[edit]

Neil at his brother’s inauguration, 1981

Neil Reagan was born in Tampico on September 16, 1908.[1] He was baptized as a Roman Catholic,[2] the faith of his father. As an infant, he attended his mother's church, but later became affiliated with his father's religion. His younger brother was baptized and raised in their mother's Disciples of Christ church.[3] Neil was described as a boisterous and gregarious personality in his youth.[4] In 1933, Neil graduated from Eureka College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.[1] He followed his brother to California and established a career as a television producer and advertising executive.

From the 1930s through the 1950s, Neil Reagan directed the radio series Dr. Christian, starring Jean Hersholt. In between he launched a brief Hollywood career as a supporting actor in films such as Tugboat Annie Sails Again (1940) and Doughboys in Ireland (1943). Neil Reagan directed Ronald Reagan in the television series Death Valley Days.

He served as president of both the Hollywood and Los Angeles advertising clubs, and also served on numerous community and professional boards including: the Crippled Children's Society of Los Angeles, the Kennedy Child Study Center in Santa Monica, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. He was an alternate delegate to the 1972 Republican National Convention from California, and a delegate to the 1980 Republican National Convention. Neil Reagan served two terms as trustee of Eureka College before his death in December 1996.[citation needed] Reagan died on December 11, 1996 in San Diego, California.[5]

The Reagan Physical Education Center on the Eureka College campus was dedicated in 1970 in honor of both Ronald and Neil Reagan. Twelve years later, Ronald Reagan would return to the Reagan Center to make one of his most important foreign policy speeches of his first term known as the START speech, or Eureka speech.[citation needed]


His wife, Ruth Elizabeth "Bess" Reagan (née Hoffman;[1] February 25, 1908 – December 11, 2006), whom he wed in 1935, died in 2006 at the age of 98. The couple had no children.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Yager (2006), p. 63
  2. ^ Harmer (2002), p. 110
  3. ^ Watson (2007), p. 457.
  4. ^ Yager (2006), p. 64
  5. ^ Holloway, Lynette (1996-12-13). "Neil Reagan, 88, Ad Executive And Jovial Brother of President". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-17.


  • Harmer, John, Reagan: Man of Principle, Cedar Fort, 2002, ISBN 1-55517-619-4
  • Watson, Robert W., White House Studies Compendium, Volume 1, Nova Publishers, 2007, ISBN 1-60021-521-1
  • Yager, Edward M., Ronald Reagan's Journey: Democrat to Republican, Rowman & Littlefield, 2006, ISBN 0-7425-4421-4