About the Late (Sean) Morton Downey, Jr. & The Ron Paul Appearance
In the link below, "Trash Talk King" Morton Downey, Jr. takes on Ron Paul in 1988. Downey was my friend. I delivered the eulogy at his funeral at St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood ib 2001. Text below. Maybe we need a few more loud mouth heroes today.
This piece first appeared a few days after the death of Morton Downey, Jr.:
March 14, 2001
RE: (Sean Morton Downey) Morton Downey, Jr. – Died March 12, 2001
Sean Morton Downey died March 12, 2001. He was eulogized as if all he had ever accomplished in life was to be the “Father of trash talk TV.” There was far more to the man than that. He never used four letter words, just major insulting name-calling, often to ones who deserved it.
I met him in 1978 through newspaperman Dr. Murray Norris, head of Christian Family Renewal and founder of Valley Christian University in Fresno, CA. VCU was before its time, having only the fax machine and fledgling computers on which to build its international external degree program vision. The heroics of Dr. Norris are another story for another time
I feel I must write this (all from memory), as there is much more to him than his reputation as “The Mouth.”
Sean and I were doctoral candidates in the VCU program. VCU was a very serious venture, it was State approved, accreditation applied for, and full of vision for mid-career people. For the sake of brevity, I am going to share brief, numbered statements on what I knew of Morton Downey, Jr., who we called by his real first name, Sean. If you want more detail, please ask. (His doctoral thesis was “The Economic Effects of Abortion on a Free Society”, which strongly opposed abortion solely on economic grounds. It was an interesting and well-thought out work.) Cong. Bob Dornan delivered the commencement address. Dr. Rousas Rushdoony, scholar and author of many works on economics and biblical principles, signed our degrees.
We first met in Las Vegas, where he was doing a lounge show at the Sahara casino hotel. He was also there to march across the desert with Paul & Judy Brown’s American Life Lobby, a pro-life group that got national attention (ALL at the time was a dba of Dr. Norris' Christian Family Renewal, one of several outreach efforts that old fighting newspaper editor backed.). We were having a late dinner in the cafeteria when my wife came up from the casino to join us for a cup of coffee. The cafeteria was closed, so the cashier insisted my wife leave. The battle that ensued, with Downey in the lead, required fast action by hotel security.
His father, the well-known Irish tenor, was an alcoholic who made growing up difficult for the boys. His younger brother Tony, whom I met in the late 70’s, was a homosexual, something Mort knew and kept from his father. When his father did learn of his persuasion, there was a fistfight with Mort protecting his beloved brother. He later had him on his national TV show.
He grew up around Hyannis Port with the Kennedy’s and was part of the “Camelot” youngsters who worked to elect JFK and was a member of JFK’s transition team. He told me Teddy was not of the same cut as Bobbie and Jack. Time seems to have proven that point. Teddy has taken the Democratic Party far to the left of JFK’s strong stances for tax reduction and personal responsibility.
Mort became a Republican when President Jimmy Carter refused to take a stand against abortion. He has always been an outspoken advocate for the unborn. He was big on personal responsibility, a product of his own follies. I suppose. Even when he got lung cancer from his incessant smoking, he refused to blame the tobacco companies for his situation.
Biafra Civil War – This African conflict saw the slaughter of thousands, many who were Catholics. Sean was there with a missionary, Father Rooney. They were smuggling young Biafran’s out of the area under a false plywood floor in Fr. Rooney’s old Peugeot station wagon. One day they were caught, the hidden young men were slaughtered, and they were taken captive. The intention was to allow the local commander to question the two men and then execute them. Fortunately, the commander was one of Fr. Rooney’s converts and he helped them escape.
He had done a beautiful album of patriotic songs and readings in 1976 for the Bicentennial. Unfortunately, the Watergate scandal broke and the album failed.
He had a talk show in DC at one time and had as a guest 2 people, one a woman from the seemingly oxymoronic “Feminists For Life”, and a man, Bill Baird who was a big abortion provider. The man kept interrupting the “Feminist for Life” woman, and after a number of warnings, Mort picked him up and threw him out of the studio.
He has a number of Gold Records for songs he wrote. I saw a wall full of them at his home in Las Vegas. One I recall was the Hit Parade listed, ”A Guy is a Guy.” Later, he even wrote a country song that made it to the top 20, called, “Green Eyed Girl”. His lyrics belied his public persona.
I was with him in San Francisco in 1980 when the American Independent Party nominated him as their presidential candidate. He turned them down.
He tried a number of ways to make money after several failures. One was to back a gold mine near Jean, NV. I tried to help him on it, and one day we met in San Diego and had lunch with Col. Bo Gritz. Col. Gritz had just returned from Vietnam, a heroic patriot whom antiwar fanatics tried to disgrace. (Much has been written about Gritz, a Green Beret officer who still advocates 2nd Amendment issues.) He had hired the very discouraged Col. Gritz to run security for the mining operation.
At the time, he was married to Kim Cotton, a sweet, blonde young lady. I never met his first wife, but did meet his daughter, Tracey. She, Melissa and Kelli were all he ever talked about.
He had a talk show in Sacramento on a radio station that had a Chinese-American doctor on its board. The doctor called in one day and Mort insulted him by calling him a “stupid ch***”. He refused to apologize and was fired. His replacement was a young man who himself had been fired from a number of radio jobs. His name? Rush Limbaugh. (Rush confirmed this on his radio show.) Ironically, the doctor was also associated with an inventor I have worked with for the last 9 years, and who’s building in Sacramento was designed by an architect friend of mine. All unrelated incidents.
There was much to that fighting Irishman with tremendous creativity and a hunger to be understood. I hope this adds a little to that picture.
Jerry is a retired engineer with strong experience in environmental innovation which he still applies today with 2 clean water and energy saving technologies. His life avocation in writing and study of philosophical and biblical themes as they apply to the body politic's spiritual warfare. He survived stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006; now in excellent health. A graduate of the University of Illinois (1958, Industrial Engineering), Jerry had post graduate studies at both the University of San Francisco and the University of Santa Clara in California between 1961 and 1963 (Logic, Marketing). As co Founder and seminar presenter he was awarded a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Valley Christian University operating under California private-post secondary statutes for mid career student, VCU was the pioneer external degree school for mid career students. Its course structures were picked up by several well known Christian colleges. Hosted local broadcast radio and TV shows, "Religion on the Line" and "The News Firm" (jointly with wife, Joanne), respectively. Jerry has published several books that are available at Amazon. Jerry is available to speak as a visiting lecturer at the high school, college or community organization level. Jerry is married 55 years to Joanne Dean Todd – 3 children, 8 grandchildren.