Tony Blankley (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, has died. He was 63.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
Earlier, Blankley spent six years in the Reagan administration in a variety of positions, including speechwriter and senior policy analyst.
From 2002 to 2007, he served as editorial page editor of The Washington Times. In recent years, he also wrote a syndicated newspaper column and provided political commentary for CNN, NBC and NPR. He was also a regular panelist on "The McLaughlin Group."
He was the author of two books and a visiting senior fellow in national security communications at the Heritage Foundation.
Born in London, Blankley moved to California with his parents as a child and became a naturalized American citizen. He worked as a child actor in the 1950s, appearing in such TV shows as "Lassie" and "Highway Patrol" and playing Rod Steiger's son in the movie "The Harder They Fall."
Before entering politics, he spent 10 years as a prosecutor with the California attorney general's office.
Blankley and Davis lived in Great Falls, Va. In addition to Davis, he is survived by three children.
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