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Biographer Says Reagan Deteriorating

Wed., Jan. 11, 1995, midnight

Former President Reagan, who announced in November that he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, hasn’t recognized his biographer for six months and once referred to books as trees.

Edmund Morris described a recent visit with Reagan, saying for “For all the willingness with which he showed me his framed photographs, his jelly bean jar, and his view of the Hollywood Hills, I did not feel his presence beside me, only his absence.”

Morris wrote in the Jan. 16 issue of The New Yorker magazine that Reagan stopped recognizing him about six months ago, “Now I no longer recognize him.”

At one point during a visit to Reagan’s Los Angeles office, Morris commented on a display of lead soldiers on a shelf, and the former president said: “He - We - we had to make space, uh - move those trees.” Mystified, Morris finally realized that Reagan was referring to a red-bound set of his own presidential papers, relegated to the shelf beneath the soldiers.

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