Edmund Morris, Ronald Reagan's Presidential Biographer, Dies at 78

Edmund Morris was most famous for his in-depth biography of President Ronald Reagan. He remained relatively involved in politics and wrote a number of noteworthy books.

Presidential biographer Edmund Morris, best known for writing a book about the life of Ronald Reagan in 1999, has died. He was 78-years-old at the time of his death.

Morris’ wife, Sylvia Jukes Morris confirmed his death on Monday. She revealed to The Associated Press that he died on Friday in a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, a day after suffering a stroke.

“We at Random House mourn this loss with all who knew him and loved him, and with those who read his remarkable books. Our deepest sympathies are with his beloved wife Sylvia,” read a statement from Andy Ward, Morris’ editor.

Morris’ career took off with the success of his first book, “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.” The book bagged him a Pulitzer Prize in 1980. However, his legacy was built on his book “Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan.”

The book earned mixed reviews because he inserted himself into the narrative as a sometimes-fictional character to help tell the former president’s story.  Years before the book was published, Morris called Reagan “the most mysterious man I have ever confronted.”

Morris started working on his Reagan biography more than a decade before it published. When asked about Reagan he said, 

“I went through a period of a year or so of depression because I felt that with all my research, how come I can’t understand the first thing about him?” 

Morris was born in Nairobi, Kenya to South African parents. According to his bio on the Penguin Random House website, he was educated in Kenya before attending college in South Africa

He moved to Britain in 1964 and worked as a copywriter in London. After the success of his Roosevelt biography, he wrote a sequel titled “Theodore Rex.” Morris’ upcoming book, “Edison,” will be published by Random House on Oct. 22.

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