×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nancy Reagan Funeral: Friends, Family Remember First Lady’s Class and Devotion

Nancy Reagan was remembered on Friday for her steely devotion to her husband as a first lady who brought class and grace to the White House and, in the words of Tom Brokaw, knew how to “stand her ground.”

Reagan died Sunday at age 94.

Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush, his wife Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton and Rosalynn Carter attended Reagan’s funeral at the hilltop Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where she will be laid to rest next to Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004.

Her daughter Patti Davis said that her parents were “two halves of a circle,” as she recalled her mother’s “ferocious” determination and shared funny stories about the family’s days living in Pacific Palisades, as well what she called their “challenging and contentious relationship.”

But, she said, “there were moments in our history when all that was going on between us was love,” she said.

Davis said that after her father died, her mother shared stories of hearing her father’s footsteps in the house. “She never stopped missing him,” she said.

Brokaw recalled his friendship with Reagan that started when he was an NBC News reporter covering California, including Ronald Reagan’s two gubernatorial campaigns in 1966 and 1970. When Reagan made it to the White House, Brokaw said that he got on her bad side when he said on air that Ronald Reagan’s “poor boy narrative” was “somewhat overblown.”

Not too long after that, Brokaw said he attended a state dinner at the White House, and fretted about what he would say to her in the receiving line. He said to her, spontaneously, “Back to square one.'” The next day, he said, he received a photo of the moment, with an inscription: “Tom, back to square one. Nancy.”

“That was such a telling moment of how astute she was,” Brokaw said. After her husband died, Brokaw recalled having lunch with her and Warren Beatty, and they would share “the best gossip from both coasts.”

Among those who also spoke were Diane Sawyer, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and James Baker, chief of staff during Reagan’s administration who went on to become secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush.

Son Ron Reagan recalled his parents as “co-equals.” “They complemented one another.”

“My father was inclined to believe that everyone was basically good,” he said, while “my mother didn’t share that inclination.”

“You didn’t want to get on my mom’s bad side, particularly by hurting my father,” he said. But he said that “if my mother had one great talent, I think it was that she knew how to love.”

“Her absolute belief in him gave him the chutzpah to run for office,” he said.

Other attendees included California Gov. Jerry Brown, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, former Secretary of State George Schultz, attorney Ted Olson, producer Norman Lear, Bo Derek, Johnny Mathis, Chris Matthews, Katie Couric, Anjelica Huston, Gary Sinise, Larry King, John Stamos and Mr. T, who advocated as part of Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign in the 1980s. Among the honorary pallbearers were columnist George Will and media titan Jerry Perenchio.

More Biz

  • pharrell brain child show

    'Blurred Lines' Flares Up Again - Marvin Gaye Family Claims Pharrell Perjured Himself

    Like a zombie that just won’t stay dead, the “Blurred Lines” case keeps coming back. While the 2015 verdict, in which Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and the song’s publisher were ordered to pay nearly $5 million to Marvin Gaye’s family for infringing upon the late singer’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up,” was basically [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA-Agency Showdown: Role of Showrunners at Heart of Legal Arguments

    The Los Angeles courtroom of U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte was packed with well-dressed lawyers on Friday morning, eager to watch a high-stakes brawl between Hollywood’s largest talent agencies and the Writers Guild of America. Birotte allowed only four lawyers from each side to sit at each table, leaving the vast majority of the attorneys [...]

  • 700700 + Ted Turner Dedication. December

    Ted Turner Tributes Established With WarnerMedia Gift to University of Georgia

    WarnerMedia has established a scholarship, internship program and exhibition hall at the University of Georgia to be named after maverick media mogul Ted Turner. The company has gifted $550,000 to the university to create the Ted Turner Scholarship Fund, for students attending the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is also the [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Judge Leans Toward Agencies' Position in Writers Guild Antitrust Suit

    A federal judge indicated on Friday that he will allow the three major agencies to pursue their antitrust lawsuit against the Writers Guild of America. The WGA has urged U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte to throw out the suit, arguing that its actions in its ongoing battle with the agencies are protected under antitrust law. [...]

  • Keli LeeStep Up Women Network 9th

    Keli Lee Exits ABC Studios International as Disney Considers Division's Fate (EXCLUSIVE)

    ABC veteran Keli Lee has left the international arm of ABC Studios as Disney considers the future of the London-based content unit, Variety has learned. Sources said Disney has told the creative community that there “has been a re-evaluation of ABC Studios International” and that it is re-assessing “the creative direction” of the business. There [...]

  • Biggest Scandals Feuds and Apologies of

    Biggest Scandals, Feuds and Apologies of 2019

    Variety looks back on some of the biggest scandals, feuds and apologies of 2019: College Admissions Scandal Wealthy parents including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged with bribing school officials to get their unqualified kids into prestigious universities. Shane Gillis Executives at “SNL” hired, then fired, Gillis in September, before the new season started, [...]

  • Biggest Media Moments of 2019

    From 'Catch & Kill' to Shepard Smith: The Biggest Media Moments of 2019

    Variety looks back on some of the most memorable media events of 2019: ‘Catch & Kill’ Reopens Wounds at NBC News Ronan Farrow’s book relitigates his complaints that NBC News tried to tamp down his investigation of harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. NBC News denies the claim. The book contains new allegations against [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content