Maureen Reagan, 60, the strong-willed and vocal daughter of the actress Jane Wyman and former president Ronald Reagan, who often was at odds with her father's conservative base of support, died Aug. 8 at her home in Granite Bay, Calif. She had melanoma.
In recent years, she was an advocate for victims of Alzheimer's disease, which afflicts her father.
Ms. Reagan lived in the White House during much of her father's presidency and played an active role in Republican politics, serving in 1987 and 1988 as co-chairman of the Republican National Committee. She also served as chair of the Republican Women's Political Action League.
She first learned she had melanoma, a form of skin cancer, in 1996. She underwent various treatments over the years, including radiation treatment recently for tumors in her brain.
From the 1970s and into the 1990s, Ms. Reagan traveled the country, raising money, recruiting candidates and, in the process, mollifying some of the party's conservative wing uneasy with her support of abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment. She played down the differences and proclaimed loyalty to her father.
"I will feel that equality has arrived when we can afford to elect women to office who can prove themselves to be as unqualified as some of the men who are already there," she said in a widely quoted 1988 speech.
Ms. Reagan tried electoral politics herself. She lost the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from California in 1982, with her father showing signs that he opposed the bid. She also lost the nomination for a congressional seat in the Los Angeles area in 1992.
Ms. Reagan, whose first big taste of politics came as a volunteer for Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign, was discouraged by aides from playing a prominent role in her father's 1966 campaign for California governor, for fear it would bring unwanted attention to her father's divorce from Wyman.
And though her father was said to have disapproved of her involvement and some of her initial political forays, Ms. Reagan blamed his aides for what she called the "humiliating attacks" against her.
She wrote in her 1989 autobiography, "First Father, First Daughter," that her father often was more amenable to her positions on women's rights than he let on publicly. She also said that he was used to her disputatious ways.
"If he hasn't lost his temper with me," she said, "then he won't lose it with anyone."
Nancy Reagan said in a statement yesterday that Ms. Reagan had her father's "gift of communication, his love of politics, and when she believed in a cause, she was not afraid to fight hard for it."
The eldest of the former president's four children, nicknamed "Mermie" by her father, she was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. Her parents separated in 1948, when she was 7 years old. Ms. Reagan went on to attend boarding schools. After high school, she attended Marymount University in Arlington briefly before pursuing an acting career.
She wrote in her autobiography that in the early 1960s, while living in Washington and working as a secretary, her husband John Filippone, whom she soon divorced, was physically abusive to her. Another marriage, to David Sills, ended in divorce in 1968.
She got bit parts in television and film and served briefly as a talk show host in Los Angeles. She toured with the USO in Vietnam in the late 1960s. She later campaigned dutifully in her father's gubernatorial and presidential runs.
During the Iran-contra scandal in 1987, she made headlines when she said that her father had been "royally PO'd" by the failure of national security aides Oliver L. North and John M. Poindexter to be forthcoming. She accused them both of "treason" and said they should be court-martialed.
Almost since Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's disease was revealed in the early 1994, Ms. Reagan became an advocate for more research funds and better care for Alzheimer's patients. She had served since 1998 on the board of directors for the Alzheimer's Association. In her advocacy, she gave the public a window into her father's deteriorating condition.
In a 1998 speech, she spoke of how the disease had "murdered" her father's mind and how he could no longer piece together simple jigsaw puzzles.
Survivors include her husband of 20 years, Dennis C. Revell, and their 16-year-old adopted Ugandan daughter, Rita, both of the Sacramento area; her father and stepmother, of Bel-Air; her mother, Jane Wyman, of Palm Springs, Calif.; a brother, Michael Reagan; a half brother, Ronald P. Reagan; and a half sister, Patti Davis.