Hodding Carter III, the former State Department spokesman who played a key role during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, has passed away at the age of 88. Carter served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under President Jimmy Carter, and became the face of the administration’s efforts to secure the release of 52 American hostages who were being held in the US embassy in Tehran.
Carter’s work as a spokesman during the Iran crisis was widely praised, as he provided regular updates to the media and the public on the administration’s efforts to negotiate the hostages’ release. He was also known for his calm demeanor and his ability to handle tough questions from reporters.
Carter’s career in government and journalism spanned several decades. He was born in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1935, and grew up in a family that owned a small newspaper. He went on to work for several newspapers and magazines, including the Delta Democrat-Times, the Greenville Delta Democrat-Times, and the Washington Post.
Carter joined the State Department in 1977, and served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from 1977 to 1980. During his tenure, he also worked on other high-profile issues, including the normalization of relations with China and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
After leaving the government, Carter returned to journalism, working for several publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Baltimore Sun. He also served as the president and CEO of the Knight Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports journalism and media innovation.
Carter’s contributions to American public life were recognized with numerous awards and honors throughout his career. In 2014, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Carter is survived by his wife, Patricia Derian, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, and their three children.