James Brady

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James Brady
James-Brady-August-2-2006.jpg
Brady in August 2006
15th White House Press Secretary
In office
1981–1989
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Jody Powell
Succeeded by Larry Speakes
Personal details
Born James Scott Brady
(1940-08-29) August 29, 1940 (age 73)
Centralia, Illinois
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

James Scott "Jim" Brady (born August 29, 1940) is a former Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary under U.S. President Ronald Reagan. After nearly being killed and becoming permanently disabled as a result of an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981, Brady became an ardent supporter of gun control.

Biography[edit]

Shooting[edit]

Brady was among the four people shot during John Hinckley, Jr.'s March 30, 1981, assassination attempt on Reagan, suffering a serious head wound. During the confusion that followed after the shooting, all major media outlets, except CNN, erroneously reported that Brady had died. Later, when ABC News anchorman Frank Reynolds, a friend of Brady, was forced to retract the report, he angrily stated on-air to his staff, "C'mon, let's get it nailed down!"[1][2] resulting in Sam Donaldson joining him after commercial.[3] During the hours-long operation, surgeon Dr. Arthur Kobrine was informed of the media's announcement of Brady's death, to which he retorted, "No one has told me and the patient."[4][5]

Chaos outside the Washington Hilton Hotel after the assassination attempt on President Reagan. James Brady and Thomas Delahanty lie wounded on the ground.

Although Brady survived, the wound left him with slurred speech and partial paralysis that required the full-time use of a wheelchair.[6] His neurosurgeon, Arthur Kobrine, described him as having difficulty controlling his emotions while speaking after the shooting, saying "he would kind of cry-talk for a while", and suffering deficits in memory and thinking, such as failing to recognize people. However, Kobrine said that 30 years later, Brady could walk and had recovered almost all speech and cognitive function.[7]

Brady was unable to work as the White House Press Secretary but remained in the position until the end of Reagan Administration with Larry Speakes and Marlin Fitzwater performing the job on an "acting" or "deputy" basis.

Handgun control advocate[edit]

Together with his wife, Sarah, who served as Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc., co-founded by N.T. Pete Shields, Brady subsequently lobbied for stricter handgun control and assault weapon restrictions. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, also known simply as "the Brady Bill", was named in his honor.

Brady received the honorary degree of doctor of laws from McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois, in 1982. Sarah and James Brady were each awarded a doctorate degree (of Humane Letters) by Drexel University in 1993. In 1994, James and his wife, Sarah, received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[8] In 1996, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton, the highest civilian award in the United States.

James S. Brady press briefing room[edit]

President George W. Bush hosts seven White House Press Secretaries, including James Brady (second from the right) with his wife Sarah Brady (far right), before the Press Briefing Room underwent renovation (August 2, 2006).

In 2000, the Press Briefing Room at the White House was renamed after Brady as the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Portrayals in film[edit]

Brady's recovery after the shooting was dramatized in the 1991 film Without Warning: The James Brady Story, with Brady portrayed by Beau Bridges.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stan Grossfeld (1 November 1987). "Brady's had bear of a time - Reagan aide fights back from shooting". Daily News of Los Angeles(reprinted from the Boston Globe). p. USW1. 
  2. ^ David Bianculli (25 June 2002). "Reagan Shooting Is Gripping 'Minute'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "President Reagan Shot assassination attempt Part 2". YouTube. ABC News. 30 March 1981. p. 4:20. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Stephen Smith (11 February 2009). "Jim Brady, 25 Years Later". CBS News. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Victor Cohn (23 November 1981). "James Brady and his odyssey". The Washington Post. p. A1. 
  6. ^ Scott Simon (26 March 2011). "Jim Brady, 30 Years Later (radio interview)". NPR Radio. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Erika Check Hayden (11 January 2011). "Anatomy of a brain surgery". Nature News. Nature Publishing Group. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Jeffersonawards.org

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jody Powell
White House Press Secretary
1981-1989
(did not brief the press after March 30, 1981)
Succeeded by
Larry Speakes