Political commentator Mark Shields dies at age 85

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Political analyst Mark Shields, best known for his decades-long stint on “PBS NewsHour,” died Saturday at his home in Maryland.

Shields was 85. His daughter, Amy Shields Doyle, told the New York Times the cause was complications of kidney failure.

Judy Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of “NewsHour,” confirmed his death in a tweet that also praised his “encyclopedic knowledge of American politics, his sense of humor and mainly his big heart.”

“I am heartbroken,” she said.

Shields, a native of Weymouth, Mass., graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1959 and then went on to serve in the Marine Corps.

He initially kicked off a career in politics and government in the mid-60s, starting off as a legislative assistant and speechwriter for Senator William Proxmire and later for Robert Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. He also held senior positions in several other presidential campaigns, including those of Edmund Muskie in 1972 and Morris Udall in 1976, as well as Sargent Shriver’s vice presidential campaign in 1972, according to Deadline.

He shifted into journalism with a job with the Washington Post’s editorial staff in in 1979. The following year, he launched a column that would go on to be syndicated in publications nationwide.

Shields joined PBS in 1988, where he for decades sparred with his conservative counterparts while wowing viewers with his quick wit and vast knowledge. He worked with the station for 33 years, until he announced his retirement in 2020. He called his long-running tenure with PBS “great fun, the most rewarding professional experience of my, admittedly checkered, career.”