With his “bronze body in a broiling sun,” the future president was billed in 1939 as the “new answer to maidens’ prayers,” Slate’s The Vault shows.
It’s only natural that the actor is pictured in a swimsuit, ladies. As a lifeguard, he saved 77 lives in seven summers, according to the December 1939 issue of Motion Picture Magazine. But he’s more than just a pretty face. Note his “pleasant, natural manner” and his lack of “actor-ego.”
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Reagan’s career was taking off that year. He appeared with Bette Davis in Dark Victory, a weepy that was nominated for three Oscars in 1940 and has endured the test of time.