October 04, 1989 12:00 PM

I always imagined that when I died there would be a phone in my coffin, and at the other end of it would be Nancy Reagan.

—MICHAEL DEAVER, former White House deputy chief of staff, 1988

The Reagans have their heroes. Ronnie’s is Calvin Coolidge and Nancy’s is Calvin Klein.

—BOB HOPE, 1981

She’s a very shrewd judge of character and has a real sort of bloodhound instinct for people’s hidden agendas. The bottom line for my mom is, Is this person hurting my father or helping him? And once she’s come down on one side or the other, then she’s going to be either a very powerful ally or an enemy you don’t want to have.


Oh, I have them all: Don’t put a hat on the bed. Don’t put shoes above your head. If you put something on inside out, you have to leave it on that way. Knock on wood.

—NANCY, on her superstitions, 1986

We don’t do anything more for [Mrs. Reagan] than we usually do for visiting royalty.

—HELEN CHAPLIN, assistant manager of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, 1982

I think people would be alive today if there were a death penalty.

—NANCY, 1981

Mrs. Reagan is treated with the kind of gingerly respect due a lioness. One admires its beauty, anticipates its desires and never, never gets it angry.

—MONA CHAREN, former speech writer for the First Lady, 1986

[Nancy’s face] may be cold and prepossessing. That is simply the kind of facade you must put up…. Part of being a political wife is being eternally petrified.


I don’t think most people associate me with leeches or how to get them off. But I know how to get them off. I’m an expert at it.

—NANCY, to the American Camping Association, 1987

A woman is like a tea bag. You never know her strength until she is in hot water.

—NANCY, favorite saying

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