Tony Blankley, conservative author, dies at 63
January 8th, 2012
04:17 PM ET
11 years ago

Tony Blankley, conservative author, dies at 63

Washington (CNN) - Tony Blankley, the conservative author and commentator, has died. He was 63.

Blankley's death was confirmed Sunday by Craig Brownstein, a publicist at Edelman Public Relations, where Blankley served as executive vice president.

Blankley was a frequent guest on CNN, appearing often on the programs "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," "John King, USA," and "State of the Union" to offer analysis and perspective on the day's news.

In addition to his work at Edelman, Blankley was a visiting senior fellow in national security communications at The Heritage Foundation.

Blankley's death was first reported by his former employer, The Washington Times, where he was the newspaper's editorial page editor for five years beginning in 2002.

During the 1990s, Blankley served as press secretary to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In that role, Blankley helped craft the speaker's public message, including developing the Contract with America.

Gingrich responded to his passing while campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination Sunday.

"Tony was a very special person," Gingrich said. "Everybody in our alumni who have heard about it have felt something in their hearts because he was more than a great professional. He was a great human being, he was a caring and loving person, he was a tremendous amount of fun, remarkably erudite and educated, and we will all miss him deeply."

In a statement Sunday, Rob Rehg, head of Edelman's Washington office, remembered Blankley's "integrity and intellect."

"He brightened our world with his colorful sartorial style, good humor and wonderful story-telling," Rehg said. "He was someone who truly fit the definition of a scholar and a gentleman. We were blessed to have had his wisdom, generous spirit and good company as part of our work family. We will miss him terribly."

Born in London in 1948, Blankley became a naturalized American citizen when he moved to the United States with his parents after World War II. In the 1950s, Blankley worked as a child actor, appearing as Rod Steiger's son in "The Harder They Fall," and in an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

Blankley attended the University of California Los Angeles and earned a law degree from Loyola Law School. He spent 10 years as a prosecutor in California before moving to Washington. There, Blankley served in the administration of former President Ronald Reagan as a speechwriter and senior policy analyst.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    i am sorry to hear this...he must have family that cares about him. My thoughts are with them at this time.

    January 8, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. BL

    As a Democrat, I always found him to be well informed, intelligent, quite cogent as a debater and above all, extremely civil and pleasant. Prayers to family and God bless.

    January 8, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Diego castro

    Rest in peace 🙁

    January 8, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Really enjoyed his comments when he was on the McLaughlin Group. He will be missed.

    January 8, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. madmaninthemiddle

    My politics are different than his, but as a commentator I will miss his humor, wit and civility. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

    January 8, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Jason

    won't be missed by me..such a hateful personality

    January 8, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. Abdul Khan

    Very SAD, God bless Positiv thinkers and Positive Writers in America

    January 8, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Ryan

    and nothing of value was lost

    January 8, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. Robert Woodfill

    I first came to know of him through his frequent appearances on the McLaughlin Group. His experiences with Newt Gingrich and others gave him an insider's perspective that brought gravitas to his brief but often humorous comments on the latest political stories. His blunt but likeable style will be missed. I was surprised and saddened to hear that he's gone – 63 is too young!

    January 8, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. Jim

    Another selfish conservative out of the way. Can we move along now?

    January 8, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |