In 1943, Wagner Â— then a 13-year-old girl Â— wrote a fan letter to Mr. Reagan. He wrote her back and included an autographed picture. Their correspondence continued for 56 years through marriages, children and careers. They discussed the state of the world, current events and politics.
"In the days of 1943, the major hobby was keeping movie star scrapbooks," Wagner told CBS This Morning. "I loved doing that and Ronald Reagan was just about my favorite actor."
Wagner said she thinks a letter of hers may have arrived when Mr. Reagan was feeling down about his marriage to Jane Wyman. But, she says, "He didnÂ't ask for advice. I think divorce is a frustrating and sore thing for anybody. I donÂ't know anyone who has an emotional high with a divorce."
Wagner added, "The important and special thing is that heÂ's had 47 years of an exceedingly happy marriage."
Mr. Reagan kept a stiff upper lip when his movie career waned, as younger actors became a new kind of leading man and he was relegated to fronting for a Las Vegas variety show.
One of Reagan's letters to Wagner during that time read, "Thanks for your wire. It arrived at the time when I thought I was going over Niagara Falls in a tub. Now, however, IÂ'm able to report the show is going over real big and the whole thing is really a grand experience. Write back. Nancy sends her best, Ronnie."
Wagner said she decided to sell Mr. Reagan's letters in order to draw greater attention to the "extraordinary character" of the former president.
She said she is, "hoping [the letters] reach the Reagan library where [they] belong."
Correspondence between the two ended in 1995 with the announcement sent to thousands of friends that Mr. Reagan has Alzheimer's disease.
In his last letter to Wagner in 1994, Mr. Reagan wrote, "IÂ'm grateful for your friendship through the years."