Nation & World News

Former Reagan White House Spokesman Larry Speakes Dies

By Greg Henderson on January 10th, 2014

Larry Speaks, who became the White House spokesman after President Ronald Reagan and Press Secretary James Brady were shot in a 1981 assassination attempt, died Friday. He was 74.

Speakes, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died at his home in Cleveland, Miss.

The New York Times reports:

“A Southerner who started many days in his White House office by listening to Mozart for what he said was its calming influence, Mr. Speakes served as acting White House press secretary from 1981 to 1987, parrying the increasingly adversarial queries from the press along the way. His nickname among friends was ‘the Mississippi catfish,’ a fish that stings when mishandled.”

While Reagan largely recovered from assailant John Hinckley Jr.’s March 30, 1981 assassination attempt outside a Washington hotel, Brady, who was shot in the head, suffered disabling injuries.

In its obituary, The Washington Post writes:

“His job included providing information to the news media on some of the most significant events in the history of the last half of the 20th century, including the meetings between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, which helped end the Cold War.

“Mr. Speakes also commanded the podium in the West Wing as disputes grew about an administration plan to trade arms to Iran in return for support of the Nicaraguan rebels known as the contras.

“Unlike many of those who held the spokesman’s position, Mr. Speakes was officially the deputy press secretary, implying that he was only filling in for Brady.”

The Associated Press says Speakes is survived by a daughter, two sons, six grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Mount Everest: Avalanche Death Toll Rises To 13

Search teams are digging through ice and snow on Mount Everest in hopes of finding Sherpa guides who are still missing. Survivors say the avalanche was like being trapped in a cloud.


A Pakistani policeman points to the damaged car that was carrying Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir when he was attacked in Karachi Saturday. Mir is reportedly out of immediate danger.

Pakiastani TV Journalist Hamid Mir Wounded In Attack

Prominent TV anchor Hamid Mir is in a Karachi hospital after gunmen opened fire on his car Saturday afternoon. Mir’s car was reportedly ambushed by attackers who were riding motorcycles.


A new study suggests the Greenland Ice Sheet did not fully melt during previous periods of global warming — and that it preserved a tundra beneath it.

Ancient Landscape Is Found Under 2 Miles Of Ice In Greenland

A revelation goes against widely held ideas about how some glaciers work, and it suggests that at least parts of Greenland’s ice sheet survived periods of global warming intact.


A South Korean navy frogman dives into a water to search passengers believed to have been trapped in the sunken ferry Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Saturday.

Captain Apologizes As Death Toll Rises In S. Korea Ferry Accident

The captain of the 6,852-ton ferry has been criticized for allowing 30 minutes to pass before giving an evacuation order. He has been arrested, even as a recovery effort continues.


A memorial erected by rescue workers near the site of the March 22 mudslide that killed at least 39 people.

Rescue Workers Erect Memorial To Washington Mudslide Victims

Rescuers say they’ve recovered 39 bodies from the massive March 22 mudslide and are still searching for four others.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments