WASHINGTON: Hill+Knowlton Strategies paid tribute on Friday to Frank Mankiewicz, the longtime "Washington persona" of the firm, press secretary to Robert F. Kennedy, and National Public Radio president, who died on Thursday. He was 90 years old.
A family spokesperson told The New York Times that the cause of his death was heart failure after being treated in the intensive care unit of a DC hospital.
Hill+Knowlton vice chairman Thomas Hoog called Mankiewicz a mentor, trusted counselor, and a friend who "was in a league of his own as a professional and as a public servant" and who "shaped the character of the firm."
"Among [his] strengths was his commitment to teaching the lessons he had learned throughout his long experience in public affairs to the rising generation of Hill+Knowlton staff members," said Hook, in a statement posted to the firm’s website. "Every conversation with [Mankiewicz] was a history lesson, peppered by personal recollections of Kennedys and Kings, senators and sinners, lawmakers and lawbreakers."
Mankiewicz was a journalist, lawyer, and executive at the Peace Corps before breaking into politics, where he worked as Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s (D-NY) spokesman until the presidential hopeful was assassinated in 1968. He later worked on Sen. George McGovern’s (D-SD) unsuccessful bid for the White House against President Richard Nixon in 1972.
After six years leading NPR, Mankiewicz was named EVP of PR and lobbying firm Gray & Co. When the agency was bought by Hill & Knowlton, Mankiewicz was appointed vice chairman. He last served as a senior consultant to the firm.
He was remembered on Friday morning on Twitter by former colleagues and admirers, including his son, an MSNBC journalist.
RIP Frank Mankiewicz. When I was starting at Hill Knowlton Strategies in 1990, he gave me great "advice." More than …http://t.co/QUgQBtStfd— Mark Stouse (@markstouse) October 24, 2014
Frank Mankiewicz was a remarkable guy - one of the most eminent political strategists in an era when that title was earned, not overused.— Will Rabbe (@WillRabbe) October 24, 2014
My father Frank Mankiewicz has passed away after a wonderful life. He was the best dad I could ever have wished for. http://t.co/plQggFFLfL— Josh Mankiewicz (@JoshMankiewicz) October 24, 2014
This column was updated on October 27 with links to Mankiewicz's columns for PRWeek.