Longtime political pundit Mark Shields dead at 85

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Longtime political pundit Mark Shields dead at 85

Mark Shields, the longtime political commentator who was a decades-long fixture on “PBS Newshour,” died Saturday at age 85.

News of his death was shared on Twitter by Newshour anchor Judy Woodruff.

“I am heartbroken to share this,” she said in the tweet, stating that for decades, Shields “wowed us with his encyclopedic knowledge of American politics, his sense of humor and mainly his big heart.”

She said he died with his wife Anne at his side.

Shields first appeared on “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” during the 1988 presidential election and became a weekly guest.

From 2001 to his retirement in 2020, he appeared each Friday with The New York Times columnist David Brooks to analyze and comment on the week’s political news. Prior to Brooks, his counterparts included the late William Safire, Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal and former presidential adviser David Gergen.

He was also a regular on “Inside Washington,” which aired on PBS and ABC from 1988 to 2013, and was a moderator on CNN’s “Capital Gang” for 17 years.

Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, Shields graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1959.

He served in the Marines in the early 1960s before becoming an aide to former Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire in 1965.

Shields, left, with political comedian Mark Russell in 2006.
Shields, left, with political comedian Mark Russell in 2006.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag
Shields poses with other members of CNN's "Capitol Gang."
Shields poses with other members of CNN’s “Capital Gang.”
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

He worked on the presidential campaign of New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, and spent more than a decade managing state, local and federal campaigns for a host of well-known Democrats.

Shields became a columnist for the Washington Post in 1979, and continued writing a syndicated column until his death.

Shields also taught about US politics and the press at multiple colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown, and was a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government.

Shields listens on as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks with Joel K. Goldstein, of St. Louis University of Law, in 2014.
Shields listens on as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks with Joel K. Goldstein, of St. Louis University of Law, in 2014.
Portland Press Herald via Getty

In addition to his wife, Anne Hudson Shields, he is survived by a daughter, Amy, and two grandchildren.

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