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Ken Duberstein, Reagan’s chief of staff, dies at 77

Kenneth M. Duberstein — President Ronald Reagan’s last White House chief of staff and one of the most connected people in Washington — died Wednesday at age 77, his wife, Jackie Fain Duberstein, told me.

  • Ken had been ill and recently retired from his firm, The Duberstein Group, which will continue with its young partners. He died at Sibley Memorial Hospital in DC.

Duberstein, a consultant to “The West Wing”, was a gregarious presence at Washington parties, network greenrooms, and New York boardrooms – forever beloved by the press for all the leaks he made during the Reagan years.

  • When he and Jackie married in 2003, the officiant was Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Duberstein had been the sherpa for Souter’s confirmation. The music? Marvin Hamlisch.
  • I’ve always been hit by the fact that he like being Ken Duberstein. When I said that to Jackie last night, she said, “He did!”

Under Reagan, Duberstein was also Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Legislative Affairs. He had been Boeing’s longest-serving senior director, had served on other boards including Travelers, and was a leader at the Harvard Institute of Policy.

Kenneth Marc Duberstein was born in Brooklyn on April 21, 1944. He was survived by three children – Andy, Jeffrey and Samantha.

With a flair that her husband would appreciate, Jackie Fain Duberstein plans a funeral at the Washington Hebrew Congregation, with older statesmen as speakers.

  • “If you don’t seize the moment,” she said to me, “you’re wasting the moment.”

Go further: Read his biography…History