Bob Beckel, (Philippines 1971-72) former Democratic Party activist who later in life became a Fox News anchor — until he was fired in 2017 after being charged with racist comments — died Monday of unknown causes, Fox News said Monday. He was 73.
“My friend and spiritual brother, Bob Beckel, has stepped into the presence of the Lord he loved. We’ve done so many things together and I hope we showed what two people with different political persuasions can be like when they love each other,” columnist Cal Thomas wrote about Beckel on Facebook on Monday. “For ten years we wrote the “Common Ground” column for USA Today, and a book by that title. The title of his ironically titled autobiography is I Should Be Dead. It is a very readable book about a difficult life that has changed dramatically in the last 15 years. See you soon Bob. You are loved.”
Beckel was born in New York City in 1948 and attended Wagner College in Staten Island. After serving in the Peace Corps, he became a graduate professor of politics at George Washington University. But he began working in government during the Jimmy Carter administration, serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for congressional relations beginning in 1977.
By 1984, he was employed as campaign manager for Carter Vice President Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign. Despite being very successful in neutralizing Mondale’s main opponent, Gary Hart, the Mondale campaign was finally crushed, losing more than 15 million votes and winning only one state.
Beckel founded Bob Beckel & Associates, a political consulting firm, in late 1984; the company later became Beckel-Cowan.
Beckel first appeared on Fox News as a political analyst in the 2000s, and officially joined the network in 2011 as a co-host of “The Five.” He was fired from the show in June 2015 after entering rehab following back surgery for painkiller addiction.
“We tried for months to work with Bob, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage for one man’s personal problems,” Fox News executive Bill Shine said in a blunt statement at the time. “He made tremendous use of our generosity, empathy and goodwill, and we just got to the end of the road with him.”
Later in 2015, Beckel joined CNN, but returned to co-host “The Five” in January 2017. However, he was fired again in May 2017 after being accused of making racist comments towards a colleague.
Beckel’s brother is character actor Graham Beckel. He was married to Leland Ingham from 1992 to 2002 and the couple had two children before their divorce. In 2015 he also published the memoir I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction.