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Reagan’s conviction, ability to change worth emulating

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library has a photograph of the former actor-turned-president sitting on a boat at Lake Mead in 1954. Ronald Reagan was an exceptional person and incredible actor and made history as a president. While Reagan was visiting Boulder City’s backyard, Lake Mead, with his wife, Nancy, he already had a full life behind him and probably could not imagine the career change he would have as the leader of our country starting in 1981.

Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911, in Illinois. His parents were average and his education was, too. In college, he went out for broadcasting and loved to tell stories, which is how Reagan ended up in California. In 1932, while working as an announcer for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, the actor took a screen test while calling an away game for the Cubs. He was immediately hired. In fact, Reagan received a seven-year contract with Warner Bros. Studios.

Before Reagan’s acting career took off, he paid his dues. There were several bit parts and extra roles that he had to take as a contracted actor, but his hard work and persistence eventually paid off. According to IMDb.com, Reagan has made over 50 films and had many more television appearances.

His last movie, made in 1964, was deemed so violent and disturbing that instead of being released as a made-for-TV movie, it was forced to be shown only in the theaters. In “The Killers” Reagan played his first ever role as a villain, portraying Jack Browning opposite actress Angie Dickinson. “The Killers” is based on an Ernest Hemingway story and the version Reagan starred in was a remake. The original came out in 1946 and starred Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.

Reagan went on to serve on the board of directors, before becoming president for the Screen Actors Guild between 1947 and 1959. It was during this time that he led the SAG through the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and the Hollywood blacklist era. A Democrat at the time, it was Reagan’s first wife, actress Jane Wyman, who was serving as an FBI informant about which actors were Communist and which ones were not. This side job of Wyman’s, along with Reagan’s aspirations to get into politics, is what started to cause a rift within their marriage. Wyman ended up filing for a divorce from Reagan in 1949, leaving him as the only president, until Donald Trump, who had been divorced.

A year before being photographed at Lake Mead, Reagan married actress Nancy Davis, who ironically commissioned the actor’s help at SAG after her name was confused with another Nancy Davis — one who was being accused of being a Communist.

A lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, Reagan officially switched his political party to Republican in 1962. Five years later the actor became the governor of California. His political career was expansive and plagued with praise and controversy.

Regardless of what one might think of Reagan’s political career and his impact on our country, he was a man who reinvented his life and his career a few times over. He wasn’t afraid to try something new, he didn’t back down in the face of criticism, and he stood strong in his beliefs and never shied away from openly discussing his personal values or religious beliefs. He made his own magic without compromising who he was, which is a hard thing to do in today’s culture.

My Throwback Thursday movie recommendation today is the 1964 version of “The Killers.” I also recommend author Bill Adler’s 1996 book, “The Uncommon Wisdom of Ronald Reagan: A Portrait in His Own Words,” which is an in-depth look at his life from childhood through his two terms as president of the United States.

Tanya Vece is a ghostwriter and independent marketing specialist. She can be reached on Instagram @TanyaLVece.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare was the man when it came to comedy and tragedy. His ability to make people feel the intense emotions of the characters is still imitated today. The past few months have been filled with a bit of excited anticipation at City Hall as several longtime and high-level employees have found new roles in other acts. I’m here to borrow some Shakespearean lines, the first being from Ophelia, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Me, my brother and Silo Sam

Recently, I’ve been enjoying watching shows on A&E related to professional wrestling back in the earlier days, with profiles on wrestlers I grew up watching as well as classic rivalries.

Let’s talk about the ‘D Word’

OK, as a starting point, I must note that it’s weird to think that I might be writing something that would put me in agreement with the Language Police.

Make a new plan, Stan

A plan is a method for achieving a desirable objective. It’s a program of action, usually memorialized in writing. Plans start with goals and ideas. But ideas alone (even good ones) don’t constitute a plan.

Time to recognize unsung heroes

We have so many functions within the Boulder City Police Department, from school resource officers to road patrol to the detective bureau. The work that they do keeps Boulder City among the “Safest Cities in Nevada” (newhomesource.com, alarm.com) year after year. One unit is the backbone of our public safety response: Public Safety Dispatchers.

Honoring National Public Health Week

In my eight decades of this amazing life, I have worn a great many hats: son, brother, father, major (USAF), grandfather, council member, state representative, state senator.