Actor-turned-writer Blankley dies

The social commentator passed away at the Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. on Saturday (07Jan12).

Blankley became a child star playing Rod Steiger’s onscreen son in 1955 movie The Harder They Fall and also appeared in TV shows including Lassie and Highway Patrol.

He later turned his back on acting to focus on writing and politics, most notably serving as an adviser to Republican politician Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when he was the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gingrich says, “Tony was a very special person. Everybody in our alumni who have heard about it have felt something in their hearts because he was more than a great professional. He was a great human being, he was a caring and loving person, he was a tremendous amount of fun, remarkably erudite and educated, and we will all miss him deeply.”

Danny DeVito has also paid tribute to the star, writing on his page, “Tony Blankley passed away condolences to his family. Gonna miss him on (radio show) Left Right and Center!”