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William P. Clark, Jr.

In office
November 18, 1983 – February 7, 1985
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by James G. Watt
Succeeded by Donald P. Hodel

In office
January 4, 1982 – October 17, 1983
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Richard V. Allen
Succeeded by Robert McFarlane

In office
February 25, 1981 – February 9, 1982
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Warren Christopher
Succeeded by Walter John Stoessel, Jr.

Born October 23, 1931 (1931-10-23) (age 78)
Oxnard, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Johanna Brauner
Children Monica Clark
Peter Clark
Nina Clark
Colin Dominick Clark
Paul Clark
Religion Roman Catholic

William Patrick Clark, Jr. (born October 23, 1931), American politician, served under President Ronald Reagan as the Deputy Secretary of State from 1981 to 1982, United States National Security Advisor from 1982 to 1983, and the Secretary of the Interior from 1983 until 1985.


Life and career

A devout Catholic, former seminary student, rancher, lawyer, and aide to Reagan in the California gubernatorial years, Clark served as a justice of the California Supreme Court prior to his Washington appointment, and was known to long to return to California. Interestingly, despite his later great personal and professional successes, the Los Angeles Times has noted [1] that Clark initially "flunked out of law school" and "had to repeat the bar test," evidently as a result of failing it at first; perseverance definitely paid off in his legal career. Clark attended Stanford University and Loyola Law School. He served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps.

Clark was a judge for the Superior Court of California from 1969 to 1971 and an associate justice on the California State Supreme Court from 1973 to 1981.

His five children, born to wife Johanna "Joan" Brauner (died April 2009), are Monica, Peter (nicknamed Pete), Nina, Colin, and Paul.

In Washington, people called him "the judge" in deference to his previous court position. He reached the apex of his power when appointed National Security Advisor and temporarily became preeminent among presidential aides. According to Edmund Morris's Dutch, Clark would walk into Reagan's office unannounced, an unheard-of practice for even the most senior officials. Clark even suggested to the president in light of foreign policy troubles bedeviling the US in the mid-1980s that Reagan consider not running for reelection in 1984. By that time however, George Shultz had surpassed Clark in influence, and Reagan apparently gave Clark's suggestion no thought. Morris writes that Clark resigned in late 1983 when he tired of the "unceasing hostility of [Michael] Deaver, [George] Shultz, and Nancy Reagan." Morris described Clark as "the only man who ever got within a furlong of intimacy" with the notoriously distant Reagan, and his ability to relate to Reagan inspired jealousy, at the same time that Clark's taciturn nature made him unlikely to build allies. Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt had embarrassed the administration by making bigoted remarks to the media, and Clark requested and received an appointment to replace Watt. He returned to California after his stint serving the administration and pursued a variety of law firm and other business interests. He currently lives in the rural community of Shandon, California where he built a small chapel in the hills of his ranch. His wife, Joan, died in April 2009.


His biography, The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand, written by Paul Kengor and Patricia Clark Doerner, was published in 2007 by Ignatius Press.

Website about book: [2]

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Raymond E. Peters
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California
Succeeded by
Allen Broussard
Preceded by
Richard V. Allen
United States National Security Advisor
Succeeded by
Robert McFarlane
Political offices
Preceded by
Warren Christopher
United States Deputy Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Walter J. Stoessel, Jr.
Preceded by
James G. Watt
United States Secretary of the Interior
Succeeded by
Donald P. Hodel




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