Nofziger, Lyn 1924-2006

views updated

Nofziger, Lyn 1924-2006
(Franklyn Curran Nofziger)


See index for CA sketch: Born June 8, 1924, in Bakersfield, CA; died of cancer, March 27, 2006, in Falls Church, VA. Political advisor, journalist, consultant, and author. A former journalist, Nofziger used his understanding of the media to great effect as an advisor to such political leaders as Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Service in the U.S. Army during World War II was followed by his earning a B.A. from San Jose State College in 1950. That year, he joined the Copley Newspapers and News Service, where he worked as a reporter, editor, and Washington, DC, correspondent until 1966. Nofziger became involved in politics in 1965, when he started campaigning for Ronald Reagan's bid to become governor of California. It would be the beginning of a long friendship with Reagan, whom he would encourage to run for the U.S. presidency. Nofziger served as a consultant to Reagan in the late 1960s and mid-1970s; occasionally the two would part when Nofziger was seen as overstepping his authority as a spokesman. In one incident during Reagan's term as governor, he leaked the fact that two of Reagan's staff had been fired because they were gay. Nofziger also helped Richard Nixon in 1972, running the president's campaign in California; he also once confessed to helping Nixon compile the list of politi- cal enemies that would later become so infamous during the Watergate scandal. Back with Reagan in 1975, he worked on the governor's unsuccessful bid to win the Republican Party nomination for president. Nofziger then assisted President Gerald Ford for a year before becoming executive vice chair of Reagan's Citizens for the Republic Political Action Committee from 1977 to 1979. When Reagan won the Republican nomination, he tapped Nofziger as deputy chair of finance, a position that did not suit him well; therefore, he was made press secretary in 1980 as Reagan took office. However, Nofziger's outspokenness and penchant for wearing wild ties were deemed inappropriate, so he was next named assistant to the president on political affairs in 1981. President Reagan was known for his ability to speak well in front of the camera, and this, combined with Nofziger's knowledge of the media, made him one of the most talented U.S. presidents in using television and radio to win the hearts of Americans. Nofziger advised Reagan again in his successful bid for reelection in 1984; meanwhile, he had cofounded the political and government consulting company Nofziger & Bragg Communications, which he operated from 1982 to 1987. It was in 1988 that Nofziger suffered his greatest setback, being convicted on three counts of illegal lobbying. Although the U.S. Court of Appeals later reversed the judgment, Nofziger lost most of his major clients, as well as 1.5 million dollars in legal fees. He managed to return to politics, however, as a consultant to President George W. Bush in 1992, when Bush lost reelection to President Bill Clinton, and in 2000 he advised Steve Forbes on his unsuccessful campaign. Having reestablished himself as a political consultant, including creating Nofziger Communications in 1988, he ran the blog He also turned his hand to fiction writing, penning Western novels in the "Tackett" series during the 1990s. Known for his conservative views, Nofziger somewhat surprisingly got involved in the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes after his daughter died of cancer. He would subsequently write a foreword to Marijuana Rx: The Patients' Fight for Medicinal Pot (1999); Nofziger would later contract kidney cancer himself, which spread through his body and proved fatal. Among his other books are a political verse collection titled Unbridled Joy: The Verse of Joy Skilmer (2000) and the memoir Nofziger (1992).



Nofziger, Lyn, Nofziger, Regnery Gateway, 1992.


Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2006, section 2, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2006, p. B10.

New York Times, March 28, 2006, p. C19.

Times (London, England), April 12, 2006, p. 66.