William F. Buckley Jr., the conservative intellectual and former PBS host whose unusual way of speaking and expansive vocabulary made him a favorite of comedians and satirists, but whose mind earned him the envy of political scholars, died Feb. 27 at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82.
Buckley, who founded conservative-minded magazine The National Review, was the host of Firing Line on PBS starting in 1971, although the show's genesis actually goes back to 1965 when it aired in the New York market on what was then WOR (now WWOR).
He switched to public broadcasting, at least in part because the then-fledgling public-television system was under attack from the Nixon administration for its alleged liberal point of view. He began syndicating the show in 1975 to public and commercial stations but returned to PBS in 1977. It lasted until December 1999, when he decided to discontinue the show.