Alan Cranston Biography

Alan Cranston was a prominent figure in the politics of the US. This biography of Cranston provides detail information about his profile, childhood, life & timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: June 19, 1914

Nationality: American

Famous: Journalists Political Leaders

Died At Age: 86

Sun Sign: Gemini

Born in: Palo Alto

Famous as: Former United States Senator

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political ideology: Democratic


Spouse/Ex-: Geneva McMath, Norma Weintraub

father: William MacGregor Cranston

mother: Carol

siblings: Eleanor Cranston Cameron

children: Kim Christopher, Robin MacGregor

Died on: December 31, 2000

place of death: Los Altos

U.S. State: California

City: Palo Alto, California

More Facts

education: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Stanford University, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Pomona College

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Alan Cranston was an American journalist and a Democratic Senator from California. Hailing from a rich family of real estate developers, he studied journalism at Stanford University. He started his journalism career as a correspondent of International News Service. Before joining politics, he served in the armed forces as a private (a soldier of the lowest military rank). He acted as a part of the Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs and Foreign Relations Committees. He was credited for his service of 24 years in the senate. He was a strong supporter of world government. His book The Killing of The Peace, published in 1945, discusses about the defeat of the League of Nations in the United States Senate. During the later part of 1980s, his name was involved with the savings and loan scandal that marred his reputation. After leaving the Senate in 1993, he operated a nonprofit group, the Global Security Institute, which worked towards abolishing nuclear weapons. He was a member of the Banking Committee and the chairman of the Veterans Committee. He also worked as the Democratic whip for 14 years. He took the initiative to gather support to end the Vietnam War. He was the founder and President of the Global Security Institute.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • After completing his studies, he joined the International News Service as its foreign correspondent. As part of his job, he went to Europe and North Africa. Though he was much delighted for this job earlier but found it frustrating later.
  • After returning to the US, he read Hitler’s Mein Kampf which, according to him, excluded information about Hitler’s anti-Semitism and militancy. So, he published an unauthorized and fuller translation of this book.
  • He also served as the editor and writer of the magazine Common Ground. Later, he worked in the Office of War Information. During this time, he authored The Killing of the Peace.
  • In 1944, he joined the armed forces as a private. In the next year, he attended the 1945 conference that played active role for Dublin Declaration. In 1947, he took the responsibility of his father’s real estate firm in Palo Alto. In 1948, he became the president of the World Federalist Association.
  • He played an important role in getting passed the World Federalist California Resolution in 1949. He appealed to the Congress to amend the Constitution so that U.S. participation in a federal world government can be made possible.
  • During the later part of 1940s, he actively protested against nuclear weapons. In 1952, he co-founded of the California Democratic Council (CDC) and became its chairman also.
  • In 1958, it was the California Democratic Council that provided necessary support to him to become a State Controller. It also offered him required help during his various elections for the U. S. Senate. He was re-elected for this post of State Controller in 1962.
  • In 1968, he was elected to the first of his four terms as senator of the United Sates Senate. In 1974, he lost to Republican H.L. ‘Bill’ Richardson, a conservative state senator.
  • From 1977 to 1991, he served as the Democratic Whip. He was unsuccessful in the Democratic presidential nomination for the 1984 election. He had suffered for his debt of $2 million for his campaign during 1984 election.
  • In 1991, he was severely criticized by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics for his ‘improper conduct’ regarding financial contribution of Lincoln Savings to voter registration groups closely associated with the senator.
  • He presided over the inauguration of Bill Clinton as the President of the United States on January 20, 1993. It was Cranston’s last work as a Senator. In 1996, he served as the chairman of the Gorbachev Foundation USA.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Cranston married twice - around 1940, he married Geneva McMath with whom his two sons, Robin and Kim, were born. However, he divorced Geneva and later married Norma Weintraub.
  • In the early period of 1990s, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His son Kim claimed that Cranston overcome his illness and died of natural causes. He died at the age of 86.
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  • During his college days, he was a part of the nation’s fastest quarter - mile sprint relay team. He is also credited for holding the world record for the 100-yard dash among 55 year old.
  • He was in the midst of a controversy when he translated Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf into English and was sued for it by Hitler. He added this information proudly in his resume.
  • During his tenure as Democratic whip, he used to take pride in his ability to count votes before they had been cast. He dedicated his retirement towards abolition of nuclear weapons.

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Last Updated
- November 09, 2017
Alan Cranston

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