At one time Reagan "possessed a remarkable memory that his brother described as photographic"
Soon after graduating from college, he auditioned for a sports announcer job by "re-creating
the fourth quarter of a Eureka College football game from memory"
(Reagan had played in the game.)
As an actor, "much of Reagan's early career was spent in the B-film division, where his
knack for quick memorization made him a valuable asset. Producers of B-films, as Reagan often
put it, 'didn't want them good, they wanted them Thursday'"
By contrast, as President, in his 70s, "He forgot the names of Cabinet officers, trusted
aides and visiting dignitaries. In Brazil, he toasted the people of Bolivia"
A friend tells Dr. Zebra of a film clip in which Reagan, as President, is asked a question,
only to look completely blank until the camera audio picks up his wife Nancy whispering an
evasive answer ("We're doing all that we can") into Reagan's ear, which he then speaks.
In 1993 Reagan became increasingly forgetful. Alzheimer disease was diagnosed during his
annual visit to the Mayo Clinic in 1994. His condition was announced to the public in a carefully
worded letter to the American people on Nov. 5, 1994
Reagan was stll able to write a letter the week of the public announcement, but by 1995
he did not recognize people and a 24-hour nurse for him was being sought
Ford also said that he visited Reagan in Century City (Reagan's office) in January 1999, but
Reagan did not recognize him at all, despite Ford's best efforts
There is an interesting photograph of Reagan, taken in 1996, that shows a visible sign
of his Alzheimer disease
. He is shown standing with a model of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, a ship named in his honor,
along with his wife and the CEO of the company building the ship. Reagan's necktie peeks out
below the button of his suit coat. Reagan was extremely careful with his appearance all his
life -- as an actor and as a President who wore $1000 suits -- so this tiny slip is actually
significant, as a sign of inattention caused by his disease. (For a case in which this sign
was actually responsible for the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease in a business executive, see
Was Reagan symptomatic while in office? There was speculation about his mental function
as early as 1987, just after he underwent his third major operation while in office (prostate).
In response, Reagan held a press conference on March 19, 1987 in which he performed extremely
well in front of a hostile press
visited Reagan when the disease was well advanced. "He barely recognized me. . . I tried
to bring up things that would refresh his memory, but he was not the Ronald Reagan that I [had