Nancy Reagan Turns 90, and Biographer Kitty Kelley Reflects on The Special Day

Nancy Reagan Turns 90, and Biographer Kitty Kelley Reflects on The Special Day

Yes folks, it's true! Nancy Reagan, former First Lady and wife of Ronald Reagan (deceased 40th President of the United States), has turned 90-years-old today!

Nancy Reagan (born Anne Frances Robbins), a former actress before she married Ronald Reagan, has lived life after her husband's death in 2004 to the fullest! She's even taken part in campaigning for the advancement of Stem Cell Research. As of today, she and President Reagan became the second first couple to both live into their 90's. President and First Lady Betty Ford became the first couple to reach this milestone when Mrs. Ford reached 90 on April 8, 2008.

Birthdays, whether they be Celebrity birthdays or simple birthdays like yours or mine, deserved to be lauded and celebrated in any way possible! You know that on your birthday, you enjoy any little sentiment that anyone can give you. It simple brightens up your day and makes it all the more special!

But, what if you had an unauthorized biography written about you, and that biographer decided to publicly write a piece about your birthday?

That is exactly what has happened with Nancy Reagan's birthday!

Celebrity Biographer Kitty Kelley has tackled some of the biggest names in American History for her unauthorized biographies, which she herself describes as "an unauthorized biography written without the subject's cooperation or control", including Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, The Royal Family, The Bush Family, Oprah, and our subject here- Nancy Reagan. Kelley choose to write unauthorized biographies because they "avoid the pureed truths of revisionist history--the pitfall of authorized biography. Without having to follow the dictates of the subject, the unauthorized biographer has a much better chance to penetrate the manufactured public image, which is crucial."

But today, Kelley, author of Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography, put her foot forward and wished Nancy Reagan a happy 90th birthday on in a blog post.

"My heartiest congratulations to Nancy Reagan today as she celebrates her 90th birthday", Kelley writes. "You might think I would be (or should be) the last person to offer such a salute to the former First Lady."

Kelley continues: "Still, I salute longevity, and I applaud the fortitude of Mrs. Reagan to soldier on, despite her battles with breast cancer, a broken pelvis, and painful arthritis, plus the death of her beloved husband after a wrenching slide into Alzheimer’s. My father, who voted for Ronald Reagan every chance he got, lived to be 98 years old and showed me the tensile it takes to reach a venerable age.  It’s no small accomplishment. Bette Davis was right: Old age is not for sissies."

"Momentum is difficult without the buoyancy of youth; high hopes diminish with sickness and disease, and the optimism to forge ahead wilts with the loss of loved ones. Few people have the guts, the good luck and the genes to live long and productive lives. Since most of us won’t reach the age of 90 I think such a birthday is an occasion to celebrate. So I commend Nancy Reagan, and fully expect her to break the tape at 100 as Willard Scott hoists a Smuckers jar in her honor."

Kelley then goes on to describe Reagan's life since Kelley wrote her biography in 1991.

But one interesting point Kelley brings up with Reagan's birth certificate, which she unearthed for her biography: "Once I was able to obtain a copy of that birth certificate I saw the formidable force that was to become Nancy Reagan. By then only two entries remained accurate: her sex and her color. Everything else had been rewritten like a Hollywood script. Born Anne Frances Robbins on July 6, 1921, she changed her name, revised her date of birth, concealed her roots..."

Kelley concludes: "So I raise a glass to Nancy Reagan as she celebrates her 90th birthday and salute her for showing us how to play the last inning with style."


I salute both Nancy Reagan for her milestone birthday and Kitty Kelley for, despite her dicey relationship with Reagan, wishing her a happy birthday in a very poignant and reverent way!

Just because one chooses to write a biography or article that criticizes a subject, it doesn't mean that they don't love and adore them!

Most of the articles I write a critical of celebrities that I absolutely adore! Oprah Winfrey is an idol to me: a modern-day saint. Jackie Kennedy is a strong, formidable woman who I am in awe of every day. Just because one chooses to write critical things about some celebrities, it doesn't mean your forfeit the right to adore them.

Kelley has proven just that. Kelley has continually said that she still holds the subjects she has written about in the highest regard. In her biography of Oprah Winfrey, Oprah: A Biography, she says that "I ended this book feeling much the way I did when I started: full of admiration and respect for my subject, and with the hope that this unauthorized biography will be received in the same spirit, if not by Ms. Winfrey herself, then by those who have been inspired by her, particularly women."

So Kelley has chosen to be critical of Mrs. Reagan, but that doesn't give her the right to be silent about her the rest of her life. Kelley has earned the right to publicly wish Mrs. Reagan a very happy birthday, in the politest way possible!

I, too, wish Nancy Reagan a happy 90th birthday! She is a wonderful, still-sprightly little woman who has done amazing things for this country and will continue to do good things! Her future is bright and happy and I wish her the happiest of days, because she fully deserves it!

Just because an author chooses to use unauthorized information to be critical of a subject, it doesn't mean they can't send a little "Happy Birthday!" to the subject.

Maybe one day I'll be wishing my former subjects a happy birthday? It may stick a crow in their neck, but at least I'd be polite.

There's nothing worse than an impolite author.

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