May 2, 1940

Ronald Reagan poses for a sculpture class at the University of Southern California.

Image: Bettmann/Corbis

You know him now as the 40th president of the United States. But first, he juggled monkeys for Hollywood.

Ronald Reagan started his career in show business in Des Moines, Iowa as a radio announcer for baseball games

In 1937, while traveling through California, Reagan took a screen test for Warner Brothers, eventually signing a seven-year contract with the studio. Later that year, he appeared in his first film, Love is on the Air.

In 1938, he starred in Brother Rat alongside Jane Wyman, who he married two years later. Read more…

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Back when Reagan was a corny Hollywood actor