Sneed: Nancy Reagan, among the stars

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Nancy Reagan. |Sun-Times files

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Former first lady Nancy Reagan wasn’t the only star in the family.

Her mom was one. And she wore one.

• Translation: Nancy Reagan’s mother, Edith Luckett Davis, was a former Chicago cop.

The only child of a former actress nicknamed “Lucky,” Reagan had little remembrance of her mother’s career as a police officer.

“It was vague to her. It happened during World War II and it wasn’t really discussed,” said Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy, a former Secret Service agent who took a bullet for President Ronald Reagan during an assassination attempt in 1981.

“The only thing Mrs. Reagan really knew was she didn’t think her mother arrested anyone,” added McCarthy, who delivered her mother’s retired police star at Ald. Ed Burke’s (14th) request before the couple left the White House in 1989.

Burke, 72, the City Council’s de facto historian, gave Sneed the scoop.

“Edith Luckett Davis was assigned to the CPD’s Crime Prevention Bureau in 1942 when her husband went off to war,” said Burke, a former Chicago cop who was once head of the City Council’s Police and Fire Department committee.

“Chicago was the nation’s biggest railroad hub at the time,” Burke said. “The war was in full swing. Soldiers and sailors were traveling through all the time.

“Although her duties were primarily social, Mrs. Davis was charged with helping prevent soldiers and sailors from being hustled, hurt and taken advantage of in taverns, restaurants and dance halls.

“It was her way of working on the home front, when her husband went off to war,” Burke added.

In a newspaper obit written in 1987,  it was noted Mrs. Davis was involved in what was described as “a celebrated but minor mystery” in 1943, “when a police officer named `Mrs. Davis` of Lake Shore Drive was reported to have helped organize a series of raids on taverns serving liquor to underage soldiers and sailors. She eventually admitted being paid as a police officer, but denied any part in the raids.”

It should also be noted, “Lucky” Davis, a former actress, had clout.

Chicago clout.


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Her second husband, Dr. Loyal Davis, was a famous, flamboyant Chicago neurosurgeon who was close friends with their north Lake Shore Drive neighbor, the legendary Mayor Ed Kelly, who got Nancy’s mother a $2,140 a year police job.

When Mrs. Davis “separated” from duty in January 1946, she was making $2,778 a year.

Although she claimed she never did any police work, she noted that during that time she wrote, directed and produced radio appearances for Mayor Kelly.

For decades one of Chicago`s most colorful society figures; the former stage actress was close friends with George M. Cohan, Spencer Tracy and Walter Huston. She was divorced from her first husband, New Jersey businessman Kenneth Robbins, shortly after Nancy’s birth.

Married to Dr. Davis in 1929, when Nancy was eight years old, she apparently dropped the nickname “Lucky.” Her close Chicago friends knew her as “De-De.”

During the more than three decades she lived in Chicago, Mrs. Davis was described as a tireless organizer and fundraiser for numerous charities; performing in national radio shows originating in Chicago.

She moved to Phoenix in 1963, where she died at the age of 91.

Who knew.


Help for Donald? Trouble for Hillary?

Republican primary ballots are up in the city.

“Although most Chicago primary voters still pulled democratic ballots this time, it’s not like they did when President Barack Obama ran in 2008,” a Sneed source said.

“Back then, Republicans were 6% of the total ballots in Chicago. This year the GOP accounts for about 10 percent, based on early voting and by mail ballots.

• The Reagan connection: The only modern primary where Republicans accounted for 13 percent of Chicago’s ballots was during Reagan’s triumphant run in 1980.

A special note . . . 

Condolences to Sun-Times Sports Department legend Albert Dickens on the passing of his partner of 37 years, James Cubas. (Visitation is from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Caribe Funeral Home, 3314 W. Armitage, followed by a service.) Albert, a quiet but princely presence at this newspaper, has watched the world revolve from his Sun-Times perch for the past 40 years. We honor him. We adore him. He is us.

Sneedlings . . .

Today’s birthdays: Carrie Underwood, 33; Chuck Norris, 76, and Olivia Wilde, 32.

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