Hannes Richter

Jay Koch (1926 - 2007)

Hannes Richter

Jay Koch, a former New York police officer and Ronald Reagan look-alike who doubled as the former president in movies and public appearances since the 1980s, died on March 19 at the age of 81 in California.

Born Julius Koch, Jr. on February 25, 1926 in Rechnitz, Austria, he immigrated to the United States when he was three.

With his thatch of thick dark hair, warm smile and twinkling eyes, he bore a remarkable resemblance to the former U.S. president. His wife, Sylvia, submitted his photo without his knowledge for a National Enquirer look-alike contest in 1980, and he won, casting him in the Reagan’s stand-in role for the next 25 years.

He taught himself to imitate Reagan’s speaking voice and mannerisms, signed with an agent and made hundreds of appearances at conferences, parties and in advertisements, television and films, including Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993).