Tony Blankley, a conservative author who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, provided political commentary for CNN, NBC and NPR and appeared as a regular panelist on “The McLaughlin Group,” died Saturday night in Washington, D.C. He was 63 and had been suffering from stomach cancer.
During a long career as a political operative and pundit, Blankley was a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990-97. 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.
From 2002-07, he served as editorial page editor of the Washington Times. In recent years, he also wrote a syndicated newspaper column and served as a political commentator for both radio and TV.
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.”
Blankley is survived by his wife, Lynda Davis, and three children.