What Do President Ronald Reagan and 'Die Hard' Have in Common?

(AP Photo/FILE)

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While I was watching “Die Hard” on Christmas, I fell down a Google rabbit hole that led to an interesting historical connection that goes beyond the film and into American political history.


The fictional Nakatomi Plaza is the real Fox Plaza tower in Los Angeles. Even though this fact is widely known, it quickly reminded me of former President Ronald Reagan’s executive assistant Peggy Grande’s book, “The President Will See You Now,” in which she wrote about her time working in Reagan’s post-presidential office at, you guessed it, the Fox Plaza tower.

As I was born in the early 2000s, this was not common knowledge to me, especially since there’s only been a few stories written about the connection between the Republican and the film.

The Hollywood Reporter published a piece in 2013 on how the 34th-floor office space was reportedly covered in broken glass from the set, and how a Secret Service agent joked about how it might have not been the best idea to have the former president work where they just showed how to conduct a terrorist attack. The outlet noted that the building was new at the time and Reagan took the last office spot available.

In fact, the report that Reagan was going to be setting up shop at Fox Plaza came just weeks before the movie was released. “Die Hard” came out on July 22, 1988, and the Los Angeles Times ran a story titled “Reagan to Have Office in Century City Tower” on July 8, 1988.


The seemingly forgotten anecdote serves as an important reminder about how interconnected the world is, whether it was in the 1980s or today. History, particularly political history, is everywhere you look, even in places and at times most of us would not realize. In addition, the connection serves as a reminder of when California was seen as a beacon for conservative success, or at least a reminder of a more politically civilized era, generally speaking.

Reagan was the former governor of the Golden State, and he also felt comfortable enough to set up shop in the heart of the city.

That’s probably not something you would see of a Republican president in the near future if the circumstances presented themselves. For example, it goes without saying why Mar-A-Lago is considered a better spot for former President Donald Trump’s offices than New York City. Political opposition has largely gone from disdain and disagreement to all-out hostility, which poses numerous risks for present-day figures. Reagan would likely not be able to have his office in Los Angeles if he were around now, and that goes to show the sorry state of affairs in the nation. One can be sure that he had extremely tight security back then, but one could argue that it would be unthinkable now without having to deal with protests daily.


So the next time you watch “Die Hard,” remember that the “The Gipper” was the new guy at Nakatomi Plaza shortly after that office party incident on Christmas Eve.


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