Marlin Fitzwater Biography

Journalist, Government Official (1942–)
As press secretary for Ronald Reagan, Marlin Fitzwater helped manage the president’s and the country’s image as the Cold War came to a close.


Born in Kansas in 1942, Marlin Fitzwater served as press secretary for both Ronald Reagan and George Bush. He was instrumental in managing the president’s and the country’s image as the Cold War ended, and later controlled media messages from the White House during the controversial Gulf War.


Former press secretary, author, consultant, lecturer. Born on November 24, 1942, in Salina, Kansas. Appointed by both Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Marlin Fitzwater is the only press secretary to work for two presidents. He started out in journalism, working for several newspapers while attending Kansas State University.

Not long after graduating in 1965, Fitzwater moved to Washington, D.C. He worked for the Appalachian Regulatory Commission in the mid-1960s before joining the U.S. Air Force. Upon completing his two years of service, Fitzwater returned Washington to become a speechwriter for the Department of Transportation in 1970. For more than a decade, Fitzwater held other government posts at the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Treasury.

Fitzwater joined the Reagan administration in 1983 as deputy press secretary. Two years later, he became Vice President George Bush??s press secretary. Then, he became press secretary for President Reagan in 1987, taking over the lead post from Larry Speakes. Beyond handling the day-to-day media issues, Fitzwater was there to manage the president??s and the country??s image as the Cold War began to come to a close. He was present at the summit between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

When George Bush became president in 1989, Fitzwater stayed on as press secretary. He faced one of the greatest challenges of his career with the Persian Gulf War in 1991, trying to control as well as disperse information in a time of unprecedented media demands. With the advent of 24-hour news channels, the war was being broadcast around the clock. President Bush awarded Fitzwater the Presidential Citzens Medal in 1992. He left the White House that year after Bush??s failed re-election bid.

Since leaving the White House, Fitzwater has engaged in a variety of activities. He wrote a memoir about his time as press secretary, Call the Briefing, which was published in 1995. It caused a bit of stir with its revelations about infighting among cabinet members. Fitzwater also served as a consultant on popular political drama The West Wing for a time. In 2001, he published his work of fiction entitled Esther??s Pillow, which was based on a family event. Today, in addition to being an author, Fitzwater is a lecturer and serves a member of the advisory board of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communications at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire.

Fitzwater lives in Deale, Maryland.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!