Larry Speakes, remembered as the “public face of the Reagan era,” died on Friday at the age of 74. Speakes served as acting White House press secretary from 1981 to 1987, after his boss, press secretary James Brady, was wounded by a bullet meant for President Reagan. He was known for the blunt and sometimes acerbic tone he took with journalists. In 1988, he published a memoir, Speaking Out, that claimed that two quotations he had attributed to Reagan were in fact never spoken by the president, which caused outrage from members of the administration and cost Speakes his job as senior vice president of communications at Merrill Lynch. Speakes, who had Alzheimer’s diease, died at his home in Cleveland, Mississippi.
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