Gerald Ford Biography

Name at birth: Leslie Lynch King, Jr.

Gerald Ford became president of the United States after the Watergate scandal forced Richard Nixon from office in 1974. Though he served as president for only 29 months, Ford is now widely credited with restoring public faith in the office of the president after the scandals of the Nixon years. Ford graduated from the University of Michigan (1935) and the Yale University law school (1941) before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was then a U.S. Congressman from Michigan from 1948-73.

Known as a steady and loyal Republican, Ford was appointed vice president in 1973 when Nixon's previous vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned after pleading no contest to a tax evasion charge. Nixon himself resigned on 9 August 1974, and "Gerry" Ford took office the same day, telling Americans that "our long national nightmare is over." One month later Ford granted Nixon a full pardon for any crimes. Ford chose as his vice president Nelson Rockefeller, the former governor of New York and grandson of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. Ford ran for re-election in 1976, dropping Rockefeller as his running mate in favor of Bob Dole. They lost to the Democratic ticket of Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, who took office in January of 1977. Ford's memoir A Time To Heal was published in 1979.

Extra credit:

Gerald Ford was an Eagle Scout... His parents were divorced when he was an infant, and his mother later married paint salesman Gerald R. Ford. According to Ford's presidential library, "The Fords began calling her son Gerald R. Ford, Jr., although his name was not legally changed until December 3, 1935"... At 93+ years, Ford was the longest-lived president in U.S. history; the month before his death, he passed the previous record-holder, Ronald Reagan... Ford served on the Warren Commission, the government group with investigated the assassination of John Kennedy... Ford's wife Betty Ford is the founder of the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California... Gerald and Betty were married on 15 October 1948, and had four children: Michael (born 1950), John (also known as Jack, b. 1952), Steven (b. 1956) and Susan (b. 1957).

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Photo of Lyle Lovett with wrinkled face and wild hair, up close