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William Safire

William Safire

William Safire was an American author, columnist, journalist, and presidential speechwriter.

Safire was the winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, joined The New York Times in 1973 as a political columnist. He also writes a Sunday column, On Language, which has appeared in The New York Times Magazine since 1979. This column on grammar, usage, and etymology has led to the publication of 10 books and made him the most widely read writer on the English language.

Before joining The Times, Mr. Safire was a senior White House speechwriter for President Nixon. He had previously been a radio and television producer and a U.S. Army correspondent. He began his career as a reporter for The New York Herald Tribune. From 1955 to 1960, Safire was vice president of a public relations firm in New York City, then became president of his own firm. He was responsible for bringing Mr. Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev together in the 1959 Moscow kitchen debate. In 1968, he joined the campaign of Richard Nixon.

Mr. Safire was born on Dec. 17, 1929, and attended Syracuse University. He lived with his wife, Helene, in the Washington, DC, area until his death in 2009. The couple had two children and a granddaughter.


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