Spiro Spiro Anti-HeroSpiro Agnew was the son of Greek immigrants. The family's original name was Anagnostopoulos and in America they settled in the Baltimore, Maryland area where Spiro was born on November 9, 1918.
In 1941 Agnew was drafted by the United States Army. He was commissioned an officer, served in France and received the Bronze Star. On May 27, 1942 he married Elinor (Judy) Judefind and together they would have four children, 3 daughters and a son.
Agnew received a law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1947 and ten years later he entered local Baltimore politics by winning a seat on the Baltimore County Zoning Board. Eventually he became chairman of the zoning board and earned a solid reputation for integrity. In 1962 he was elected Baltimore County Executive. Four years later in 1966 he ran as a moderate Republican and was elected the 55th governor of Maryland.
In 1968 Richard Nixon selected Agnew to be his Vice Presidential running mate. Agnew quickly developed a reputation for strong polemical speeches critical of the anti-war movement, the media and liberals in general. In a speech on October 19, 1969 Agnew referred to the news media as an "effete corps of impudent snobs." His use of alliteration in his polemics became notorious: the liberal news media were "nattering nabobs of negativism" and liberals were the "hopeless, hysterical hypochodriacs of history."
On October 10, 1973 after pleading "no contest" to a charge of income tax evasion connected with kick backs he received during his tenure as Maryland's governor, Agnew resigned as Vice President. He was only the second vice president to ever resign and the first to leave office because of legal problems. Agnew was disbarred in 1974.
After his resignation Agnew essentially left the world of politics and became a businessman representing a variety of international clients. He maintained homes in Ocean City, Maryland and in Rancho Mirage, California. He published an autobiography in 1980 entitled Go Quietly...Or Else. On September 17, 1996 at the age of 77 Spiro Theodore Agnew died in the state he had once governed.
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