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William Frank Buckley, Jr. (November 24, 1925 – February 27, 2008) was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, which had a major impact in stimulating the conservative movement. He hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, where he became known for his transatlantic accent and wide vocabulary. He also wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column, and wrote numerous spy novels.
George H. Nash, a historian of the modern American Conservative movement, states that Buckley was “arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century… For an entire generation, he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure.” Buckley’s primary contribution to politics was a fusion of traditional American political conservatism with laissez-faire economic theory and anti-communism, laying groundwork for the new American conservatism of U.S. presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and President Ronald Reagan. Buckley wrote God and Man at Yale (1951) and over 50 other books on writing, speaking, history, politics and sailing, including a series of novels featuring CIA agent Blackford Oakes.
Buckley was born November 24, 1925, in New York City to lawyer and oil baron William Frank Buckley, Sr., of Irish ancestry, and Aloise Josephine Antonia Steiner, a New Orleans native of Swiss-German, and some Irish, origins.