Politicians, Stars of the 80s, Pay Their Respects to Nancy Reagan

Posted March 11, 2016 at 4:35pm
Actor Mr. T arrives for the funeral service of US former First Lady Nancy Reagan on March 11, 2016, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Mr. T arrives for the funeral service of former first lady Nancy Reagan. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Lawmakers, world leaders, political observers and close friends Friday gathered in Simi Valley, California to lay to rest former first lady Nancy Reagan.

Those who filed into the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to honor the fiercely loyal spouse of the 40th president regaled the dignitary-packed crowd with anecdotes about how integral she was to American politics.

“Her absolute belief in him gave him the chutzpah to run for office,” her son, Ronald Prescott Reagan, said of the quiet strength she shared with the then-aspiring candidate. “My mother provided the encouragement that he needed … she protected him.”

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, arrive for funeral services for former First Lady Nancy Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on March 11, 2016, in Simi Valley, California. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista arrive. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Former US Secretary of State George Schultz (2nd R) and his wife, Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, arrive for funeral services for former First Lady Nancy Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on March 11, 2016, in Simi Valley, California. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State George Schultz and his wife Charlotte Mailliard Schultz arrive. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Reagan administration vet James A. Baker III said Reagan relied on Nancy to be his “eyes and ears” in the White House. “She had an instinct for reading people the president knew that he lacked,” Baker said. “She was absolutely, without a doubt, his closest advisor.” Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney emphasized the depth of the Reagans’ love affair by reading a note the president sent her during their first Christmas in Washington — an account, per Reagan, of the many beloved women in his life.

SIMI VALLEY CA MARCH 11, 2016 - Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives for funeral services being held for former first lady Nancy Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library March 11, 2016 in Simi Valley. Mrs Reagan will be buried next to her husband on the property. (Photo by Irfan Khan-Pool/Getty Images)
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives for Nany Reagan’s service. (Irfan Khan/Pool/Getty Images)

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Actor Tom Selleck was among those at the service… (Getty Images photo)
SIMI VALLEY CA MARCH 11: Larry King and his wife Shawn King arrive for funeral services being held for former first lady Nancy Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library March 11, 2016 in Simi Valley. Mrs Reagan will be buried next to her husband on the property. (Photo by Irfan Khan-Pool/Getty Images)
…as well as talk-show host Larry King and his wife Shawn King. (Irfan Khan/Pool/Getty Images)
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First lady Michelle Obama arrives with former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush, right, and Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife Anne Gust. (Irfan Khan/Pool/Getty Images)

In the touching tribute, Reagan heaps praise on the many roles Nancy plays to perfection: devoted wife, loving mother, remarkable first lady, enthusiastic ranch hand and irreplaceable partner.