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Former Reagan spokesman Larry Speakes dies at 74

JACKSON, Miss. – Larry Speakes, who spent six years as acting press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, has died in his native Mississippi. He was 74.

Kenny Williams of the Cleveland Funeral Home says Speakes died Friday at home in Cleveland, Miss., where he had lived the last several years.

Bolivar County Coroner Nate Brown says Speakes had Alzheimer’s disease and died in his sleep. He was buried in North Cleveland Cemetery during a private service Friday morning.

Speakes became Reagan’s acting spokesman after Press Secretary James Brady was injured during an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981.

After resigning in 1987, Speakes worked for Merrill Lynch in New York. He returned to Washington in 1988 and worked in public relations for Northern Telecom and the U. S. Postal Service, retiring in 2008.

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