Neil Reagan

Neil Reagan

Neil with his baby brother, Ronald, c. 1912
Born John Neil Reagan
(1908-09-16)September 16, 1908
Tampico, Illinois, U.S.
Died December 11, 1996(1996-12-11) (aged 88)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Ruth Elizabeth "Bess" Hoffman
(m.1935–1996; his death)
Parent(s) Jack Reagan
and Nelle Wilson
Relatives Ronald 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 Ronald Reagan.

Life and career

Neil Reagan was born in Tampico in 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.[5]

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. Reagan died on December 11, 1996 in San Diego, California.[6]

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.


His wife, Ruth Elizabeth "Bess" Reagan (née Hoffman;[1] February 25, 1908 – October 22, 2010), whom he wed in 1935, died in 2010 at the age of 102. The couple had no children.

Selected filmography


  1. 1 2 3 Yager (2006), p. 63
  2. Harmer (2002), p. 110
  3. Watson (2007), p. 457.
  4. Yager (2006), p. 64
  5. Profile,; accessed September 2, 2015.
  6. 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.


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