In Memory of Raymond K. Price, Jr.
Chief Speechwriter to President Nixon
Raymond K. Price, Jr., head speechwriter to President Richard Nixon, died February 13, 2019, in New York City. He was 88 years old.
Price was a core member of Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign and served on the White House staff throughout the Nixon presidency, becoming chief speechwriter in 1970. He was the President’s collaborator on his first Inaugural Address, all of State of the Union messages, his resignation address and many other speeches.
Following the White House, he helped President Nixon write and research the first three of his post-presidential books, including RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon and returned to New York with President and Mrs. Nixon in 1980. Price wrote his own book With Nixon in 1977.
“I am very grateful for the life of Ray Price. He was a prince of a man,” said Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughter of President and Mrs. Nixon. “His book With Nixon remains the very best and most perceptive book that has ever been published on my father,” Eisenhower added.
“Ray Price, my old colleague of eight years with candidate and President Nixon, was a gifted and eloquent writer, a good man, a loyalist in the toughest of times, and a patriot who served his country and the causes in which he believed both honorably and well,” said longtime friend and fellow speechwriter Pat Buchanan. “I recall fondly the many miles Ray and I traveled together in those unforgettable years half a century ago. God bless and keep him,” Buchanan added.
“Ray was a valued colleague and mentor to RN’s White House research and writing staff, where his elegant prose and gentlemanly demeanor set the highest of standards,” said Ken Khachigian, who worked with Price on the White House speechwriting staff as well as in San Clemente on President Nixon’s memoirs and the Frost/Nixon interviews. “The President regarded Ray with the deepest of respect and trust – reciprocated by Ray’s fierce loyalty, both during and after the presidency,” Khachigian added.
“Ray Price and I started to work for RN on the same day, March 1, 1967. Ray was one of the most consequential members of RN’s official White House staff. He always offered RN excellent advice and performed his speechwriting duties with magnificent skill,” said Dwight Chapin, who served with Price on the 1968 campaign and on the White House staff. “All of us will miss Ray,” Chapin added.
“How fortunate to have known Ray Price as a mentor, colleague and friend,” said Lee Huebner, White House Deputy Director of Research and Writing. “He was a gifted, graceful writer–always finding the right words to inspire, persuade and reassure–and, at the same time, a man whose good nature and good sense were so deeply appreciated by so many whose lives were touched by his,” Huebner added.
A 1951 graduate of Yale, Price served in the Navy during the Korean War and then on the editorial staff of Collier’s and Life before joining the New York Herald Tribune in 1957. During nine years at the New York Herald Tribune, he was an editorial writer, Review of the Week editor, acting Sunday editor, assistant to the publisher, and, for the paper’s final two years, editor of the editorial page.
From 1983 to 1985 he was assistant to CBS founder William S. Paley, while also supervising the reports of the National Commission on Central America, chaired by Henry Kissinger, and the President’s Task Force on International Private Enterprise.
When he became president of the Economic Club in 1985 he also began a weekly newspaper op-ed column distributed nationally by the New York Times syndicate, continuing it through 1989. From 1985 to the mid-90s he was an outside consultant to Merrill Lynch, primarily on speeches for its CEO.
During the post-White House years, Price traveled abroad extensively with President Nixon and assisted on RN’s final two books, Seize the Moment and Beyond Peace.
Price participated in a Richard Nixon Legacy Forum on April 18, 2011, titled “Writing for 37: White House Speechwriters Remember Writing for Richard Nixon” where he joined fellow Nixon speechwriters Patrick J. Buchanan, William “Bill” F. Gavin, Lee W. Huebner and Kenneth L. Khachigian to look back on their time serving the 37th President.