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A Loss For the Right: Political Commenter Tony Blankley Dead at 63

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Tony Blankely, 1948-2012
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Conservative author and political commenter Tony Blankley, heard locally on KCRW's "Left, Right, and Center," representing the right, has died. Blankley was 63, and had stomach cancer.Born in England, Blankley was a child actor during his childhood spent in Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times. Blankely's family moved to L.A. when young Tony was just one year old; As a pre-teen, Blankely "appeared in TV shows such as Lassie and Highway Patrol, and had a role in the 1956 Humphrey Bogart film, The Harder They Fall."

Blankely abandoned acting, however, and pursued a degree in political science at UCLA and went on to law school at Loyola Law School. He worked ten years in the state attorney general's office upon passing the bar exam.

He became known in the political arena when he served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich in the 1990s. Gingrich, on the campaign trail for the Republican nomination for candidacy for the presidency, said this weekend he considered Blankely a "very dear friend."

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Matt Miller, Arianna Huffington, Tony Blankley and Robert Scheer onstage in 2009 (Photo by Salvador Farfan/www.caughtinthemoment.com)
Blankely came on board "Left, Right, and Center," in 2005, amid displeasure from progressive critics. In October 2009, LAist saw Blankely and his LRC cohorts live onstage for a vibrant discussion.