William P. Clark, a key advisor to Ronald Reagan, passed away yesterday after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 81.
Clark, an attorney and rancher, served under Reagan in both Sacramento and in the White House. He was Governor Reagan’s Cabinet Secretary and later his Executive Secretary before Reagan appointed him to the bench as a Superior Court judge and eventually to the California Appellate Courts and finally California Supreme Court in 1973.
Clark would join Reagan in Washington following the 1980 election first serving as Deputy Secretary of State then replacing Richard Allen as National Security Advisor and finally replacing James Watt as Secretary of the Interior. Clark returned to California after the end of Reagan’s first term in office to establish a private practice and pursue other business interests.
In 2007, TAS’ own Paul Kengor co-wrote a biography of Clark with Clark’s niece Patricia Clark Doerner titled The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand. I am sure we will hear further from Paul in the coming days.
Clark did not seek the limelight, but here is a short interview he did last year in which he discusses his role in the Reagan Administration and his insights into Reagan’s spirituality. Clark also discusses why he built a chapel on his ranch.