James Brady, who was press secretary to President Ronald Reagan when he was shot in the head by would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley Jr., has died at age 73.
Brady had only been press secretary for a few weeks when he was severely injured on March 30, 1981. He was unable to remain spokesman, but retained press secretary title throughout Reagan's two terms in office. Larry Speakes was tapped as deputy press secretary to be the White House spokesman.
Brady had been head of public affairs and research for the Reagan-Bush campaign, and before that had been a long-time Hill and government agency staffer and spokesman. He was press secretary to then presidential candidate John Connally and began his career around politics as a summer staffer for Sen. Everett Dirkson in 1962. He was also former VP of James and Thomas Advertising.
In 1996, Brady received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Bill Clinton. In 2000, President Clinton named the White House Press Briefing Room "The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room."
"Because of Jim’s hard work and the policy that bears his name—the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act—an estimated 2 million gun sales to criminals, domestic abusers and other dangerous people have been blocked," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which was launched in the wake of the shooting. "As a result, countless lives have been saved. In fact, there are few Americans in history who are as directly responsible for saving as many lives as Jim."
An online condolence card is available at www.BradyCampaign.org/remembering-jim.