The man who crafted Ronald Reagan’s public persona died today of pancreatic cancer at age 69, the AP reports. Michael Deaver, part of the so-called “troika” that directed the Reagan presidency, specialized in managing the president’s image in the media. His own image was damaged by a 1987 perjury conviction, which temporarily put a rift between him and the Reagans.
Nancy Reagan, now reconciled with Deaver, called him “the closest friend to both Ronnie and me in many ways,” saying he was “like a son” to her late husband. Deaver was modest about his role in Reagan’s ascendancy. “I've always said the only thing I did is light him well,” he once said.