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Max Marlin Fitzwater was born in Salina, Kansas, on November 24, 1942 to Max Malcolm and Phyllis Ethel [Seaton] Fitzwater. Raised on a farm in Dickinson County, he has used his middle name since childhood to distinguish himself from his father. He worked for the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle (Kansas) in 1961 before attending K-State for a year, and then was editor of the Lindsborg News-Record (Kansas) in 1962. While continuing at K-State, Fitzwater worked for various newspapers as a salesperson or correspondent that included the K-State Collegian, Manhattan Mercury (Kansas), Topeka Capital-Journal, and Abilene Reflector-Chronicle.
After his graduation from K-State (B.A. in Journalism, 1965), Fitzwater left for the Washington, D.C., area where his fiancee, Linda Kraus, was employed. They married soon thereafter and later divorced in 1980. They had two children together. He married Melinda Andrews in 1999.
Fitzwater's career in the federal government included the following:
1965–1967: Assistant in the Public Affairs Department of the Appalachian Regional Commission
1967–1970: Served in the United States Air Force
1970–1972: Speechwriter in the Department of Transportation
1972–1980: Press Officer and eventually Director of Press Relations, Environmental Protection Agency
1981–1983: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Treasury Department
1983–1985: Deputy Press Secretary to the President for Domestic Policy, The White House
1985–1987: Press Secretary to the Vice President, The White House
1987–1989: Assistant to the President for Press Relations, The White House
1989–1993: Press Secretary to the President, The White House
Mr. Fitzwater received the Presidential Citizen Medal in 1992. He worked on the television show The West Wing as a consultant. In 2002, Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, completed the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication in his honor.
He is the author or co-author of the following books:
Call The Briefing! Bush and Reagan, Sam and Helen: A Decade with Presidents and the Press. New York: Times Books, 1995.
Esther's Pillow: The Tar and Feathering of Margaret Chambers. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.
(With Woody Klein and Dee Dee Myers) All the Presidents' Spokesmen: Spinning the News, White House Press Secretaries from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008.
Death in the Polka Dot Shoes: A Novel. Terrace, BC: CCB Publishing, 2011
Sunflowers: A Collection of Short Stories. Terrace, BC: CCB Publishing, 2011.
Oyster Music. Tallahassee, FL: Cedar Winds Publishing, 2012.
Calm Before the Storm : Desert Storm Diaries and Other Stories. Leesburg, FL: Sea Hill Press, 2019.
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Created in 2017, updated in 2019 and 2022.
Call the Briefing!
Library of Congress Name Authority File with birth year added.