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William F. Buckley Jr., 1997

Watch Buckley bullet Previous Speakers

This story originally appeared in the Summer 1997 Perspectives.

Author, advisor, columnist, politician, adventurer, editor, philosopher, television personality, lecturer...and the list goes on. It is safe to say that no celebrity in the world today wears as many hats as William F. Buckley, Jr.

In 1955, Buckley founded the conservative journal National Review, which is today the journal of opinion with the largest circulation in America.

He began his syndicated column, On the Right, in 1962. Today, it appears twice a week in more than 300 newspapers here and abroad. He began hosting his weekly television show Firing Line in 1966. Virtually every political and intellectual leader throughout the world has been a guest, as well as personalities ranging from Groucho Marx to James Michener.

As an author, his diversity holds no bounds, Buckley is philosophical in God and Man at Yale, Up from Liberalism and Right Reason; he is autobiographical in Overdrive and The Unmaking of a Mayor; and is creative in his fictional works, which include 10 Blackford Oakes spy tales (one of them won the American Book Award).

Buckley was born in New York City in 1925. He graduated with honors from Yale University and has taught and studied at Yale, the University of Mexico and the New School for Social Research. He has been awarded more than 35 honorary degrees and was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November of 1991.

Occasionally, he plays the harpsichord with symphony orchestras. In 1983, he received the International Platform Association's Emerson Award, an honor given to those persons considered to be the top speakers in their chosen fields.


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