Bruce Herschensohn, a longtime friend of David Horowitz and the Freedom Center, passed away this week at the age of 88. Bruce was a huge figure in conservative circles and touched the lives of so many in so many ways.
Bruce led an incredibly varied and full life. Many remember him as a Republican candidate for the Senate in California in 1992, a race he should have won. He was the unfortunate victim of Democrat dirty tricks pulled at the 11th hour that caused him to lose to Barbara Boxer.
What many don’t remember or know about Bruce is that he was also an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, wrote classical music scores, was a longtime teacher of politics, most recently at Pepperdine University, and served under four Presidents: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon as a Deputy Special Assistant, and as part of Ronald Reagan’s transition team in 1980. He also was the author of numerous books and countless articles during several decades as a columnist.
Most of all, Bruce was simply one of the kindest, humblest, and nicest people that one could meet. He was the epitome of class, always with a positive outlook on life and a kind word. He always wore a dark, tailored suit and I am not sure if a day ever went by when Bruce didn’t enjoy a cheeseburger, something he seemed to love almost as much as freedom itself. Though born in Milwaukee, he was the quintessential Californian, his first job being a bagger at the Ralph’s Grocery Store in Westwood.
I had the great pleasure of getting to know Bruce when we both worked at the Claremont Institute in the late 1990’s and we stayed in touch over the past 20 years. The defense of freedom in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan were of particular interest to Bruce, and the recent events in Hong Kong were an intense worry to him.
Throw a dart at a map of the world and no matter where it landed, you would get a wonderful lecture on the people, the history, and the politics of that land, and you would be mesmerized by Bruce’s knowledge and teaching. You will never meet anyone with a greater knowledge of the world.
So much can be said of Bruce Herschensohn and one hopes that a lot more will be written by those who knew him. His stalwart love of liberty and his incredible voice for freedom cannot easily be replaced. But most of all, for those who knew him, his kindness and friendship will forever leave a huge void. He will be missed.