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Frank Mankiewicz, Aide Who Announced Robert Kennedy's Death, Dies

Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

Frank Mankiewicz, a longtime Washington insider who as press secretary to Robert Kennedy in 1968 announced the senator's death by an assassin's bullet and who later served as the head of NPR, has died at age 90.

Mankiewicz, who also worked in President John F. Kennedy's administration and helped direct Sen. George McGovern's unsuccessful 1972 presidential campaign, went to work in public relations after leaving NPR in 1983.

NPR's David Folkenflik says Mankiewicz grew up as part of Hollywood royalty. His father, Herman Mankiewicz, co-wrote Citizen Kane (1941) with Orson Welles, and his uncle, Joseph Mankiewicz, directed the 1950 classic All About Eve.

"While he was growing up, frequent guests in his house would have included the Marx brothers, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald [and] Greta Garbo," David tells Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep.

Regarding his time as the president of NPR (1977-1983), David says Mankiewicz had "great ambitions" for the network, overseeing the creation of NPR's flagship news program Morning Edition, among other things.

But he also left a $6 million deficit and forced a bailout of the network by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as well as its member stations.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: October 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM EDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Frank Mankiewicz oversaw creation of All Things Considered.