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Billy Carter

Billy Carter (right), greets his brother, President Jimmy Carter, at the commencement ceremonies at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta February 20, 1979.
Born March 29, 1937(1937-03-29)
Died September 25, 1988 (aged 51)

William Alton "Billy" Carter III (March 29, 1937 – September 25, 1988) was an American businessman who promoted Billy Beer, a candidate for Mayor of Plains, and the younger brother of United States President Jimmy Carter.


Early years

Born in Plains, Georgia, Carter attended Emory University in the Atlanta area but did not complete a degree. He served four years in the United States Marine Corps, then returned to Plains to work with his brother in the family business of growing peanuts. In 1955, he married Sybil Spires (born 1938), also of Plains, Georgia. They were the parents of six: Kim, Jana, William "Buddy", Marle, Mandy and Earl, who was just 12 years old when his father died.

Billy Carter ran for mayor of Plains in 1976, but lost the election.

In 1977, he endorsed Billy Beer capitalizing upon his colorful image as a beer-drinking Southern boy that had developed in the press when his brother ran for President. Carter's name was occasionally used as a gag answer for a Washington, D.C. trouble-maker on 1970s episodes of The Match Game. Carter was known for his outlandish public behavior. For example, he once urinated on an airport runway in full view of the press and dignitaries.


In late 1978 and early 1979, Billy Carter visited Libya three times with a contingent from Georgia. He eventually registered as a foreign agent of the Libyan government and received a $220,000 loan. This led to a Senate hearing over alleged influence peddling which some in the press dubbed "Billygate." A Senate sub-committee was called To Investigate Activities of Individuals Representing Interests of Foreign Governments (Billy Carter-Libya Investigation).

After the failure of Billy Beer, Carter sold his house to settle back taxes with the IRS.


In the fall of 1987, Carter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and took unsuccessful treatments for the disease. He died in Plains at the age of 51. [1]

In 1999, Carter's son William "Buddy" Carter published a biography of his father titled Billy Carter: A Journey Through the Shadows (ISBN 1-56352-553-4).

See also


  1. ^ "Billy Carter Dies of Cancer at 51. Troubled Brother of a President.". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-29. "Billy Carter, the irrepressible gas station proprietor and farmer who vaulted to national celebrity in his brother Jimmy's successful campaign for President in 1976, died of cancer of the pancreas yesterday at his home in Plains, Georgia. He was 51 years old."  

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