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William Safire

William SafireAKA William L. Safire

Born: 17-Dec-1929
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 27-Sep-2009
Location of death: Rockville, MD
Cause of death: Cancer - Pancreatic

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Columnist
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: NYT columnist, language maven

Military service: US Army (1952-54)

After dropping out of Syracuse University, William Safire worked several years for Republican strategist Tex McCrary. He became speechwriter for Richard M. Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew, coming up with such gems as the deliciously alliterative "nattering nabobs of negativism" line for one of Agnew's speeches. He had the fortunate timing to leave Nixon's employ just prior to the Watergate Scandal.

Safire was hired as columnist for the New York Times. Safire was sloppy as a columnist, and often highly partisan. He would often take the "throw everything against the wall and see what sticks" approach. For example, Saddam Hussein's involvement with the 9/11 attacks was "undisputed fact" since in 2001, future hijacker Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi officials in Prague. In the real world, that meeting never occurred. In 1978 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, for his partisan columns regarding White House Budget Director Bert Lance's finances. It should be noted that Lance was cleared of all wrongdoing, but only after he had been driven out of office.

Beyond his op-ed columns, Safire also authored a weekly On Language column in the newspaper's Sunday magazine. Being self-appointed "Language Maven" perhaps brought him more fame than his regular column. It spawned a half-dozen books, and was often the subject of more mail than any other piece in the magazine. Safire continued with On Language until two weeks prior to his death in 2009 from pancreatic cancer.

Father: Oliver Craus Safir (d.)
Mother: Ida Panish
Brother: Leonard
Wife: Helene Belmar Julius (m. 16-Dec-1962)
Son: Mark Lindsey
Daughter: Annabel Victoria

    High School: Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NY (1947)
    University: Syracuse University (1947-49, dropped out)
    Administrator: Trustee, Syracuse University

    The New York Times Columnist, On Language (1979-2009)
    The New York Times OpEd Columnist (1973-2005)
    White House Speechwriter Senior Speechwriter (1969-73)
    Safire Public Relations, Inc. President (1960-68)
    Tex McCrary, Inc. VP (1955-60)
    The New York Herald Tribune Columnist (1949-51)
    Charles W. Dana Foundation Board of Directors
    Gridiron Club 2000
    Pulitzer Prize for Commentary 1978
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 2006
    Roast: William Safire (1998)

    The Trials of Henry Kissinger (14-Jun-2002) · Himself

Author of books:
The Relations Explosion: The Coming Boom and Shakeout in Corporate Relations (1963)
Before the Fall: An Inside View of the Pre-Watergate White House (1975)
Full Disclosure (1977, novel)
Safire's Political Dictionary (1978)
William Safire on Language (1980)
Safire's Washington (1980)
What's the Good Word? (1982)
I Stand Corrected: More on Language (1984)
Take My Word for It (1986)
Freedom: A Novel of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War (1987)
You Could Look It Up: More on Language from William Safire (1988)
Fumblerules: A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage (1990)
Language Maven Strikes Again (1990)
Coming To Terms (1991)
The First Dissident: The Book of Job In Today's Politics (1992)
Old Books Have a Future (1993)
Quoth the Maven: More on Language from William Safire (1993)
In Love with Norma Loquendi (1994)
Sleeper Spy: A Novel of Deception (1995, novel)
Watching My Language: Adventures in the Word Trade (1997)
Spread the Word (1999)
Scandalmonger (2000, novel)
The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time (2004)

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