Former Deputy White House Press Secretary Larry Speakes passed away today of Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 74.
Speakes was appointed to this position following the assassination attempt against President Reagan on March 30, 1981. Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and paralyzed. Although Brady retained the title of Press Secretary, he could not carry out duties and Speakes was the de facto Press Secretary for most of the Reagan Administration. Speakes left the White House in 1987 and was succeeded by Marlin Fitzwater.
After leaving the White House, Speakes wrote Speaking Out which was an account of his time during the Reagan Administration.
Here is an August 1985 profile of Speakes in People Magazine. In the article, Reagan biographer Lou Cannon said of Speakes, “He may not be a genius. But, like Reagan, he is a lot smarter than people think.”