Former Pres. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate 77th wedding anniversary

PLAINS, Ga. — UPDATE: Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter died on Nov. 19 at age 96. The former president and his family were by her side at the time of her death. Former President Jimmy Carter remains in hospice care.


Former President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are celebrating their 77th wedding anniversary.

Georgia’s favorite couple had their first date at the movies.

For 102 years, the Rylander Theatre has proudly stood along West Lamar Street in downtown Americus and hosted many a first date.

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“As far as entertainment goes in Americus Georgia, the Rylander Theatre was it,” the cinema’s Nicholas Ryan told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen.

Local moviegoers are sometimes very particular about where they sit.

“They’ll specifically want this seat because that’s the seat their dad or mom bought,” Ryan said.

One night in the summer of 1945, 20-year-old Jimmy Carter from nearby Plains had his first date with 17-year-old Eleanor Rosalynn Smith.


Later that night, Jimmy’s mom, Miss Lillian, had a question.

“How’d the date with Rosalynn go? He said that’s the girl I’m gonna marry,” the National Park Service’s Randy Dillard said.

Dillard says the rest is history. The future President and First Lady of the United States of America wed a year later, a love that has now endured for 77 years.

The Rylander isn’t sure what film they watched that night, but the place where they watched it is now known as the Jimmy Carter Auditorium.

“Any time a relationship lasts that long is wonderful. To think the Rylander even got to play a small part of that is just wonderful,” Ryan said.

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