William Rees-Mogg, one of Britain’s leading journalists and a founding board member and chairman of Newsmax Media, has passed away in London at age 84.
Lord Rees-Mogg served as Chairman of Newsmax’s Board of Directors beginning in January 2000 through 2005, then becoming chairman of the company’s international advisory board.
“It has been a mercifully short illness. He died very peacefully and a member of his family was with him. He was very prepared for it," his son, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a member of Parliament, told the Times.
“My friend was not only a remarkable journalist, but a man of value who lived for something larger than himself, who wanted Britain to remain strong and relevant, and as a helping hand to the other country he loved, the United States,” Christopher Ruddy, CEO and founder of Newsmax Media, said.
Born in Bristol in 1928 to an American mother and English father, Rees-Mogg was educated at Oxford. At the university he served as president of the Student Union.
After Oxford, he began his journalism career at The Financial Times in 1952. He moved to The Sunday Times in 1960, later becoming its Deputy Editor.
In 1967, he became editor of The Times of London, serving during a tumultuous period for the paper and Britain until 1981.
In 1967, Rees-Mogg caused a sensation in the British establishment by criticizing a 3-month jail term for rock star Mick Jagger for a minor drug offense. In his editorial, Rees-Mogg quoted poet Alexander Pope: “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"
Rees-Mogg remained an influence after leaving his editorship, serving as a columnist for The Times until his death. During a brief period he also wrote a weekly column for The Mail on Sunday.
During his illustrious career Rees-Mogg was also Vice Chairman of the BBC’s Board of Governors during the 1980s, and Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain. He was made a life peer in 1988 as Baron Rees-Mogg, and sat as an active member in the House of Lords.
Rees-Mogg co-authored three bestselling books with James Dale Davidson, founder of the National Taxpayers Union and also a founding board member of Newsmax: “The Sovereign Individual,” “The Great Reckoning: Protect Yourself in the Coming Depression,” and “Blood in the Streets: Investment Profits in a World Gone Mad.” These books warned of a coming debt and financial crisis, as well as the rise of the power of the Internet in germinating democratic movements, long before these ideas came into vogue.
He also recently penned his memoirs, titled simply “Memoirs.”
“I saw Lord Rees-Mogg for lunch just several months ago in London,” Christopher Ruddy recalled. “As always he was sharp, questioning me about the upcoming American election and giving his take on world events and the global economy. His mind never slept.”
His co-author and friend Davidson said: “For a senior figure in the establishment, Lord Rees-Mogg was a remarkably open-minded libertarian and I would say something of a free spirit.
“He knew many of the great figures of his time, but was by no means persuaded that all was right with the world. And he was a very good writer.
“I will miss him.”
Lord Rees-Mogg is survived by his wife Lady Gillian, and two sons and three daughters.
Editor's Note: See also James Dale Davidson's "William Rees-Mogg: A Remembrance"
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