Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Frederick Gary "Fred" Dutton (June 16, 1923 - June 27, 2005) was a lawyer and Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 power broker who served as campaign manager and Chief of Staff for California Governor Pat Brown, Special Assistant to U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and went on to manage Robert F. Kennedy's campaign for the Presidency.

Between 1960 and 1972 Dutton played a role in every Democrat’s quest for the White House. Dutton entertained both politicians and journalists and could be considered as one of the country’s original “spin doctors.” He had a long career as a lobbyist for American oil companies and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, leading to him being referred to as both "Fred of Arabia" and "Dutton of Arabia."

Early life and education

Born in Julesburg, Colorado
Julesburg, Colorado
The historic town of Julesburg is a statutory town that is the county seat of Sedgwick County, Colorado, United States. The town is located on the north side of the South Platte River. The population was 1,467 at the U.S. Census 2000...

 to his mother Lucy Dutton and father Fredrick Dutton (known as "doc"), Fred's mother, father and little brother, Edward moved to San Mateo, California
San Mateo, California
San Mateo is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a population of approximately 100,000 , it is one of the larger suburbs on the San Francisco Peninsula, located between Burlingame to the north, Foster City to the east, Belmont to the south,...

, where he attended San Mateo High School
San Mateo High School
San Mateo High School is an American National Blue Ribbon comprehensive four-year public high school in San Mateo, California serving grades 9–12 as part of the San Mateo Union High School District....

 and met his first wife, June Klingborg Dutton. The Duttons had three children together between 1950 and 1960 (Christopher, Lisa, and Eve). Dutton graduated from University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

 in 1946 and from Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is a graduate school at Stanford University located in the area known as the Silicon Valley, near Palo Alto, California in the United States. The Law School was established in 1893 when former President Benjamin Harrison joined the faculty as the first professor of law...

 in 1949.

Dutton had two stints of military service in both World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Korean war
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. Dutton was a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 and was awarded the Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

 and the Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...


Political career

Following his position as assistant counsel with Southern Counties Gas Co., from 1952 to 1956, Dutton became chief assistant attorney general of California, in 1957 and 1958. He was executive secretary to Governor Pat Brown
Pat Brown
Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown, Sr. was the 32nd Governor of California, serving from 1959 to 1967, and the father of current Governor of California Jerry Brown.-Background:...

 in 1959 and 1960.

Governor Brown appointed Dutton to the Regents of the University of California
Regents of the University of California
The Regents of the University of California make up the governing board of the University of California. The Board has 26 full members:* The majority are appointed by the Governor of California for 12-year terms....

 in 1962, where he served until 1978.

Dutton was the deputy national chairman of Citizens for Kennedy-Johnson in 1960. Following the election, he was brought into the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 as a Special Assistant to President Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 in 1961, serving as secretary of the cabinet and special assistant for intergovernmental and interdepartmental relations. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations
Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
The Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs is the head of the Bureau of Legislative Affairs within the United States Department of State.- List of Assistant Secretaries of State for Legislative Affairs :-External links:**...

, from 1961 to 1964. He was also a political adviser and campaign aide to Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...


Dutton travelled with Kennedy during much of his 1968 presidential campaign
Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy was a U.S. Senator from New York, having won in 1964. In 1968, President Johnson began to run for reelection. In January 1968, faced with what was widely considered an unrealistic race against an incumbent President, Senator Kennedy stated he would not seek the presidency...

. He was at the Ambassador Hotel when Kennedy was shot
Robert F. Kennedy assassination
The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a United States Senator and brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, took place shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, in Los Angeles, California...

 and rode in the ambulance with him. In an interview after he became a lobbyist, he said, “After Bobby was shot, the lights went out for me.”
Dutton was credited with originating the idea for Earth Day
Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the...

. His early memo was later acknowledged to be inspiration for Gaylord Nelson
Gaylord Nelson
Gaylord Anton Nelson was an American politician from Wisconsin who served as a United States Senator and governor. A Democrat, he was the principal founder of Earth Day.-Public service and leadership:...

 who would lead the effort to create Earth Day
Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the...

. .

Legal and lobbying career

After the Robert Kennedy assassination in 1968, Dutton returned to his private law practice in Washington, DC. Dutton was credited with helping his client Mobil Oil develop its “advertorial
An advertorial is an advertisement in the form of an editorial. The term "advertorial" is a portmanteau of "advertisement" and "editorial." Merriam-Webster dates the origin of the word to 1946....

” marketing strategy.

Dutton later married attorney Nancy Hogan Dutton and they had two children together (Stacy & Christina). Together the Duttons formed the Dutton and Dutton law practice; this firm went on to be appointed chief U.S. attorney for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, earning Mr. Dutton the often quoted moniker "Dutton of Arabia". Dutton & Dutton continued work for Saudi Arabia following Fred's death.

Frederick Dutton died on June 27, 2005, aged 82, of undisclosed causes.

See also

  • List of Korean War veterans who are recipients of the Bronze Star

Further reading

includes copies of four obituaries and burial information