When talking trailblazers in the political panel TV business, the first name that always came to mind was John McLaughlin.
McLaughlin died at the age of 89 on Tuesday after battling prostate cancer, according to longtime panelist Eleanor Clift. The revelation was a shocking one because McLaughlin kept his condition a secret even from frequent guests like Clift, Pat Buchanan and Clarence Page until just a few weeks ago.
That's just the kind of old-school guy McLaughlin was. He never wanted to make himself the story, even when deteriorating from cancer.
Talk about a record that will never be broken. And just days before his death, he still mustered the strength to pre-record an introduction to a segment for the Aug. 14 edition. That's dedication.
But McLaughlin will not only be remembered for longevity and dependability but that voice. Those distinctive, booming, one-of-a-kind pipes. They made every topic on his 30-minute program, one he created and executive produced, just feel more important. And it didn't take long for McLaughlin to make an impact on the political scene felt all the way up to the highest office in the land.
Thank you for making that half hour every weekend something very special to look forward to," the president concluded, chuckling. "I wouldn't miss it. I can't afford to."