The Most Surprising Fact About Every American President

Source: Gene Forte / Central Press / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

36. Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973)
> Years served as president: 1963-1969
> Political party: Democratic
> Surprising fact: Johnson’s life was saved by missing flight to the South Pacific.

Fate intervened on Lyndon Johnson’s behalf during World War II. He boarded a bomber for a mission in the South Pacific, but before the plane took off, he hopped off to use the restroom. When he returned, Johnson boarded another plane for the mission that took off but had to return to the base. The original plane Johnson was supposed to board crashed, killing everyone on board.

Source: National Archive / Newsmakers

37. Richard Nixon (1913-1994)
> Years served as president: 1969-1974
> Political party: Republican
> Surprising fact: Nixon could play five musical instruments.

While Richard Nixon is widely associated with the Watergate scandal, what most may not know about him is his hidden musical talents. Nixon played the piano, clarinet, saxophone, violin, and accordion. He could play these instruments without learning to read music.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

38. Gerald Ford (1913-2006)
> Years served as president: 1974-1977
> Political party: Republican
> Surprising fact: Ford leaked JFK assassination information to the FBI.

Before Gerald Ford became president, the Michigan congressman served on the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy. While serving on the commission, Ford leaked information about its findings to the FBI, including doubts among some members that there was only one gunman involved in the assassination.

Source: U.S. DefenseImagery / Wikimedia Commons

39. Jimmy Carter (1924-present)
> Years served as president: 1977-1981
> Political party: Democratic
> Surprising fact: Carter was uncomfortable with the trappings of the presidency.

Jimmy Carter’s presidency could never be mistaken as imperial. After becoming president, the former peanut farmer from Georgia sold the presidential yacht, carried his own briefcase, and forbade the playing of “Hail to the Chief” when he made official appearances as president.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

40. Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
> Years served as president: 1981-1989
> Political party: Republican
> Surprising fact: Reagan consulted with an astrologer.

Reagan and his wife were so fascinated by astrology that the president consulted with an astrologer by the name of Joan Quigley. When word got out that Reagan consulted with Quigley, headlines like “Astrologer Runs The White House” ran shortly after. Nancy Reagan confirmed that astrology was merely a factor in determining Reagan’s schedule, not for political decisions.