TIME obituary

James Brady, Former White House Press Secretary, Dies at 73

Ronald Reagan's press secretary became a gun control advocate after surviving the 1981 assassination attempt on the president

Updated 3:18 p.m. ET

James Brady, a former White House Press Secretary for Ronald Reagan, has died at age 73.

Before becoming an aide to Reagan, Brady worked for the OMB and the Pentagon, as well as Sens. Everett Dirksen and William Roth and Texas governor John Connally. He was named White House press secretary in Jan. 1981, according to a TIME profile, “after a lengthy search turned up no one better or more willing to tackle the job.”

But after an assassination attempt on then-President Reagan in 1981 left him confined to a wheelchair, Brady went on to become a major advocate for gun control. Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act into law in 1993.

White House press secretary Jim Brady lies wounded on sidewalk after a gunman fired several shots at President Ronald Reagan and his party after he delivered a speech at a Washington hotel in Washington on March 30, 1981.
White House press secretary Jim Brady lies wounded on sidewalk after a gunman fired several shots at President Ronald Reagan and his party after he delivered a speech at a Washington hotel in Washington on March 30, 1981.
Betterman/Corbis

Brady was born in Centralia, Ill., on Aug. 29, 1940. He earned a B.S. in Communications and Political Science from the University of Illinois in 1962 before going on to work in Republican politics.

“Jim touched the lives of so many and has been a wonderful husband, father, friend and role model,” reads a statement from Brady’s family. “We are enormously proud of Jim’s remarkable accomplishments — before he was shot on the fateful day in 1981 while serving at the side of President Ronald Reagan and in the days, months and years that followed.

Jim Brady’s zest for life was apparent to all who knew him, and despite his injuries and the pain he endured every day, he used his humor, wit and charm to bring smiles to others and make the world a better place.”

[NBC]

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