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William F. Buckley

William F. BuckleyAKA William Frank Buckley, Jr.

Born: 24-Nov-1925
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 27-Feb-2008
Location of death: Stamford, CT
Cause of death: Emphysema
Remains: Buried, Saint Bernard Cemetery, Sharon, CT

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

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: National Review

Military service: US Army (1944-46, 2nd Lieutenant, Fort Sam Houston)

William F. Buckley Jr. was a prominent conservative American political commentator. His grandfather made millions in the oil business, and his father made many millions more with ownership of the Catawba Corporation, using the extended Buckley family's almost-complete control of six giant oil companies to ensure that all six companies relied on Catawba for lucrative geological, geophysical, accounting, and technical services.

Like his nine brothers and sisters, Buckley had Latin American nursemaids and French governesses, and he grew up trilingual. As a young boy, on his father's recommendation, Buckley read the works of Albert Jay Nock. He was drafted into the Army in 1944, and upon his discharge in 1946 worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, where three of his siblings have also been employed. Buckley's immediate supervisor at CIA was E. Howard Hunt, who sent him to Mexico City, where he was charged with undermining the Mexican government.

At Yale, Buckley was the star of the debating team, and earned his bachelor's degree in 1950. Upon graduation, Buckley promptly wrote God and Man at Yale, a book criticizing his alma mater for straying from its original, Christian mission. He was an editor at The American Mercury for several years, before his aggravation at the liberal policies of the Eisenhower administration led him to start his conservative magazine, National Review.

National Review quickly found its audience, making Buckley a political force. It was cited as influential by conservative leaders such as Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. In 1960, Young Americans for Freedom (or YAF, as it was widely known through the 1960s) was founded in a meeting at Buckley's Connecticut estate. During the Watergate scandal, Buckley underwrote his former CIA boss Hunt's legal defense. Buckley's newspaper column, accurately titled "On the Right", was syndicated beginning in 1962, and in 1965 he ran for mayor of New York on the Conservative Party ticket, receiving about 13% of the vote.

In 1966, Buckley began hosting Firing Line, a political talk show on National Educational Television, the forerunner of PBS. 1,429 weekly episodes were produced over the next 33 years, until Buckley stepped down in 2000. He resigned from management of National Review, but continued writing for the magazine until his death.

When Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy rejected repeated invitations to appear on Firing Line, Buckley quipped: "Why does baloney reject the grinder?" He also once threatened to punch Gore Vidal in the face, after an exchange of insults. As AIDS became a topic of conversation in the 1980s, Buckley suggested that those diagnosed with the disease should be tattooed on their backsides, presumably to protect uninfected Americans.

Buckley was fined twice by the Securities and Exchange Commission, $1.4M for violations related to National Review stock, and $800K for trade violations involving the family's fortune.

Buckley also found time to write a series of novels about fictional CIA spy Blackford Oakes. Oakes manifested Buckley's foreign policy against Cuba in See You Later, Alligator, against East Germany in Marco Polo, If You Can, and against the Soviets in High Jinx, among several other titles. In his last Oakes opus, 1995's A Very Private Plot, the spy was called to testify about secret operations conducted in the 1980s.

Father: William Frank Buckley, Sr. (oil millionaire, b. 12-Jul-1881, d. 5-Oct-1958 stroke)
Mother: Aloise Steiner (b. 1896, m. 1917, d. 1985)
Brother: James L. Buckley (US Senator and federal judge, b. 1923)
Brother: Fergus Reid Buckley (journalist, novelist, former CIA agent, b. 14-Jul-1930)
Sister: Priscilla Langford Buckley (ex-CIA agent, managing editor, National Review, b. 1921)
Sister: Patricia Buckley Bozell (book editor, b. 1924, m. Brent Bozell 1949, mother of Brent Bozell)
Brother: John William Buckley (managed family's inherited oil-related fortune, b. 1920, d. 1985)
Sister: Carol Virginia Buckley Charlton (author, b. 1939)
Sister: Jane Lee Buckley Smith (executive at National Review, b. 1928)
Sister: Maureen Buckley O'Reilly (b. 1933, d. 1964, married Gerald A. O'Reilly, CEO of Richardson Vicks)
Sister: Mary Aloise Buckley Heath (author, b. 1919, m. oil tycoon Benjamin W. Heath 1942, d. 1967)
Wife: Patricia Austin Taylor (b. 1-Jul-1926, m. 6-Jul-1950, d. 15-Apr-2007, one son)
Son: Christopher Buckley (author/editor, b. 1952)

    High School: Millbrook School, Millbrook, NY (1943)
    University: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1943)
    University: BA Political Science, Economics, and History, Yale University (1950)

    National Review Founder (1955)
    American Mercury Associate Editor (1952)
    CIA employee 1946-?
    Hollinger International International Advisory Board, paid approximately $200K
    America First Committee Millbrook School chapter president (age 15)
    American Conservative Union
    Bilderberg Group
    Bush-Cheney '04
    Council on Foreign Relations
    Club for Growth
    Forbes 2000
    Friends of Giuliani Exploratory Committee
    Fund for American Studies
    George W. Bush for President
    The Heritage Foundation
    Intercollegiate Studies Institute President
    John McCain 2008
    Knights of Malta
    National Conservative Campaign Fund
    National Republican Congressional Committee
    National Review Institute
    Philadelphia Society Board of Trustees
    Santorum 2006
    Skull and Bones Society
    Young Americans for Freedom Founder
    Clare Boothe Luce Award 20-Oct-1990
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 1991
    Library of Congress Living Legend 2000
    Libel lawsuit filed by Gore Vidal (1968), dismissed
    Pied shaving cream pie, New York University (1976)
    Issued Concealed Carry Permit New York City
    Funeral: Ronald Reagan (2004)
    Irish Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Smoking, Marijuana, Diabetes

    Firing Line

    Dirty Pictures (27-May-2000) · Himself
    The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg (18-Feb-1994) · Himself

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