Ex-Treasury Sec. Regan dies
Former Merrill Lynch chairman served under Reagan and championed tax-cut plan.
June 10, 2003: 6:20 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Donald Regan, who served as Treasury Secretary in the Reagan administration, died Tuesday at the age of 84.

Regan held the post from 1981 to 1984, before switching jobs with White House Chief of Staff James Baker.

Three years later, Regan was forced to resign from the administration amid the Iran-Contra affair.

In a 1988 memoir, "For the Record," Regan blamed first lady Nancy Reagan for his ouster.

Donald Regan, who served Ronald Reagan as treasury secretary and chief of staff, died Tuesday.

He also exposed what he called "probably the most closely guarded domestic secret of the Reagan White House" -- that Nancy Reagan regularly consulted an astrologer for advice on her husbands' decisions, which the president at times heeded.

President Reagan publicly expressed anger after the book was published and denied that astrology ever influenced his policy.

In a statement Tuesday, Nancy Reagan said, "I was very sad this morning when I heard of Don Regan's death," and praised him for serving the country "with great distinction."

A brief biography of Regan from the U.S. Treasury's Office of the Curator calls him "the champion of Reagan's plan to cut taxes in order to stimulate investment ... an undeviating champion of free enterprise, deregulation, and competition in American industry."

It quotes Regan as saying of Reagan's economic plan, "The more I examine supply side economics, the more I find I've always been on this side. But I thought it was just old fashioned conservatism."

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow released a statement Tuesday, saying, "I am saddened to learn of the death of Don Regan. Don will be remembered as a great treasury secretary and an innovative leader of the American business community.

"Many at Treasury will miss him, and our thoughts today are with his wife and family."

He is survived by his wife, Ann Buchanan Regan, four children and nine grandchildren.

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Regan was born Dec. 21, 1918, in Cambridge, Mass. In 1940, he received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University.

He began law school but left to join the Marine Corps. At the end of World War II, he retired as a lieutenant colonel.

Beginning in 1946, he cut his teeth on Wall Street -- working for a firm that would later become Merrill Lynch.

According to a statement released by Merrill Lynch Tuesday, Regan at the age of 35 became the youngest general partner in company history and worked his way up the ranks to become chairman and chief executive officer in 1971 -- positions he held for nine years before joining the Reagan administration.

In retirement, the statement says, Regan took up painting in a studio at his Williamsburg, Va., home. It quotes Regan as saying, "After Wall Street and the government, I decided there had to be more to life than the stock market, golf and drinking."  Top of page

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