Regan, Donald T(homas) 1918-2003

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REGAN, Donald T(homas) 1918-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 21, 1918, in Cambridge, MA; died June 10, 2003, in Williamsburg, VA. Politician and author. Regan was secretary of the treasury and chief of staff during the administration of U.S. President Ronald Reagan. A graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1940, he was accepted at Harvard Law School but left to join the Marine Corps during World War II, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war he joined the investment firm of Merrill Lynch as an account executive, advancing to president in 1968 and serving as chief executive officer and chairman of the board during the 1970s. While on Wall Street he was instrumental in abolishing fixed commissions for brokers, which he argued prevented free competition. Reagan selected him as treasury secretary in 1981 and White House chief of staff in 1985. As treasury secretary Regan supported the idea of supply-side economics and helped promote the Economic Recovery Act, which passed in 1981 and greatly reduced federal income taxes. As chief of staff, however, he had difficulties controlling his staff, and when the Iran-contra scandal—which involved illicit U.S. government arms deals with Iran and Nicaraguan rebels—surfaced in 1986, he shouldered blame for not being more aware of the activities of the national security staff, although he denied any responsibility for the affair. The scandal led him to resign his post in 1987, and he wrote about it somewhat bitterly in his For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington (1988). In addition to For the Record, Regan was also the author of A View from the Street (1972) and The Merrill Lynch Story (1981).



Encyclopedia of World Biography, second edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.


Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2003, section 1, p. 13.

Los Angeles Times, June 11, 2003, p. B10.

New York Times, June 11, 2003, p. C17.

Times (London, England), June 11, 2003.

Washington Post, June 11, 2003, p. B6.