NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — John McLaughlin, the host of the long-running political roundtable show “The McLaughlin Group,” died Tuesday at 89.
A former Jesuit priest, McLaughlin went into journalism before creating his eponymous television program in 1982. The show, which McLaughlin both produced and hosted, aired on Sundays and featured a roundtable of political commentators, including Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, Clarence Page and Tom Rogan.
Last week, McLaughlin missed his show because he was “under the weather,” he said in a statement. It marked the first time in 34 years he had failed to host his show.
The news of his death was announced in a post on the show’s Facebook page.
“Earlier this morning, a beloved friend and mentor, Dr. John McLaughlin, passed away peacefully at the age of 89. As a former jesuit priest, teacher, pundit and news host, John touched many lives,” the post read.
“For 34 years, TheMcLaughlin Group informed millions of Americans,” the statement continued. “Now he has said bye bye for the last time, to rejoin his beloved dog, Oliver, in heaven. He will always be remembered.”
Born in 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island, to an Irish-Catholic family, McLaughlin entered the Jesuit Order at the age of 20. He graduated from Boston College and went on to teach high school in Connecticut.
In 1970, McLaughlin ran for the United States Senate against the orders of the church, and lost. Following that, he got a job as a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon. He left the Jesuit Order shortly after Nixon’s resignation and pursued a career in journalism. In 1981, he began a column for The National Review.
The following year, McLaughlin launched “The McLaughin Group.”
Describing the show in an interview with C-SPAN two years after its launch, McLaughlin said he was “hopeful that this program will inspire people to take an active interest in public policy formulation.”
“I want it to be of assistance of sharpening their own perceptions,” McLaughlin said. “We polarize issues, we get on both sides of the issues, we hit it hard, and we let people make up their own minds.”