Sunday, August 19, 2007

Reagan's adviser Michael Deaver dies

Reagan's adviser Michael Deaver dies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Michael Deaver, a media strategist who shaped iconic images of President Ronald Reagan only to be convicted of perjury over his later lobbying business, died on Saturday, aged 69.

Deaver had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died at his home in Bethesda, Maryland, surrounded by family members, said a statement issued by Edelman, the public relations firm he served as a vice chairman.

As deputy chief of staff during Reagan's first term in the White House, Deaver engineered dramatic photo opportunities for the president, including the cliff-top backdrop of his 1984 visit to D-Day invasion beaches in France.

For U.S. television audiences, Reagan, overlooking the English Channel and addressing D-Day veterans, stole the show from allied leaders gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the Normandy invasion of Europe during World War Two.

Deaver left the White House in 1985 and was convicted two years later of three counts of lying to a grand jury and congressional investigators probing his lobbying activities. He was fined $100,000. His chief defense was a loss of memory because of alcoholism.

Deaver hitched his star to Reagan's after the former Hollywood actor was elected California governor in 1966. He became a close confidant of Reagan and his wife Nancy.

He later joined Reagan for his presidential campaigns in 1968, 1976, 1980 and 1984 and took a particular interest in Reagan's image on TV.

"It's fair to say that I always believed that most people got all their information from television, and so television was the most important part of my job," he said in a 2004 interview with the National Public Radio program "On the Media."