Conservative talking head and former George W. Bush press secretary Tony Snow died of colon cancer today. He was 53. After a decade at Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, Snow served 17 months in the Bush administration, from May 2006 through September 2007. "Although a star in conservative politics, as a commentator he had not always been on the president's side. He once called Bush 'something of an embarrassment' in conservative circles and criticized what he called Bush's 'lackluster' domestic policy."

"Most of Snow's career in journalism involved expressing his conservative views. After earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1977 and studying economics and philosophy at the University of Chicago, he wrote editorials for The Greensboro (N.C.) Record, and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.

"He was the editorial page editor of The Newport News (Va.) Daily Press and deputy editorial page editor of The Detroit News before moving to Washington in 1987 to become editorial page editor of The Washington Times.

"Snow left journalism in 1991 to join the administration of the first President Bush as director of speechwriting and deputy assistant to the president for media affairs. He then rejoined the news media to write nationally syndicated columns for The Detroit News and USA Today during much of the Clinton administration.

"Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox News, called Snow a 'renaissance man.'

"Robert Anthony Snow was born June 1, 1955, in Berea, Ky., and spent his childhood in the Cincinnati area. Survivors include his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, whom he married in 1987, and three children." [AP]