Charles Taylor Manatt

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Charles Manatt
Santo Domingo Mayor Johnny Ventura with US Amb to DR, Charles Manatt.jpg
Manatt (far right) with Mayor of Santo Domingo and former singer Johnny Ventura and Ventura's wife in 2000.
United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic
In office
December 17, 1999 – March 1, 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Donna Hrinak
Succeeded by Hans H. Hertell
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
In office
February 27, 1981 – February 1, 1985
Preceded by John C. White
Succeeded by Paul G. Kirk
Personal details
Born (1936-06-09)June 9, 1936
Chicago, Illinois
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Richmond, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kathleen Manatt (m. 1957)
Children Michele Anne Manatt, Timothy Taylor Manatt, and Daniel Charles Manatt
Residence Washington, DC
Alma mater Iowa State University, George Washington University School of Law
Occupation Lawyer, Politician
Profession Politics, Law
Religion Methodist

Charles Taylor Manatt (June 9, 1936 – July 22, 2011[1]) was a U.S. Democratic Party political figure. He was an American lawyer, politician and businessman.

Manatt was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1981 to 1985. In those years, he supervised and directed the 1984 democratic national convention. He was a delegate, sometimes categorized as a super delegate. He also served as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic from 1999 to 2001. He was the founder of the law firm Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips LLP, where his practice focused on international, administrative, and corporate law. Manatt served until June 2008 as chairman of the Board of Trustees at the George Washington University. His widow is Kathleen K. Manatt.

Manatt was a former Chair of the International Foundation of Election Systems Board of Director. He and his wife Kathleen established the Manatt Democracy Studies Fellowship Program in 1998.

Manatt died on July 22, 2011 at the age of 75.

Early life


Manatt was born on June 9, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois. Son of William Price Manatt, and Lucille Taylor Manatt, the youngest of two boys alongside Richard P. Manatt. Although born in Chicago, he grew up in Audubon, Iowa, helping his father, a farmer, care for the family farm. His mother was a school teacher and later a homemaker. He attended elementary, middle and high school in Audubon. In his sophomore year, he began dating Kathy Klinkefus, who later became his wife.


In 1954, Manatt began studying at Iowa State College (later University). He and Kathy Klinkefus, who also attended Iowa State, graduated in early 1958. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Washington D.C., and he began studying at the George Washington University School of Law. He served as President of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. From 1999 until June 2008, Manatt served as chairman of the Board of Trustees at George Washington University. Manatt sat on the Council on American Politics, which brings together leaders from across the nation to address issues facing the growth and enrichment of the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University.

Personal life

Marriage and children

Manatt married Kathleen (Kathy) Klinkefus on December 29, 1957 in Audubon, Iowa. They then moved to Washington, D.C. where they had their first child, Michele. Then, the family moved to Los Angeles, where they had two boys, Timothy and Daniel. The boys went to public school, while their daughter studied at a combination of public and private schools. She is a graduate of the Westlake School for Girls in West Los Angeles, now known as Harvard-Westlake. While Michele was attending the University of California at Berkeley, the family moved back to Washington D.C, where the two boys attended and graduated from Sidwell Friends School. Manatt continued expanding the Law Firm, where it grew to have offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D.C, Orange County, CA, Palo Alto, CA, Sacramento, CA, and Albany.

Foundation of the law firm

In 1965, while living in Los Angeles he founded the Manatt law firm with his long-time friend and colleague Thomas Phelps, a banking and finance attorney. He began his legal career focusing on banking and financial services. In 1976, Mickey Kantor joined the firm and his name was added to the letterhead, until his departure in 1993. L. Lee Phillips, an entertainment lawyer, joined the firm in 1977, and became a named partner soon after. For its founding location, the firm headquarters are in Los Angeles. Over time, offices were opened in 8 different cities, primarily in California, but also in New York and Washington D.C.. In 2007, the law firm was employing 380 attorneys. It was founded as a general practice, now incorporating litigation, Corporate Finance, Entertainment, Health Care, Real Estate, Advertising, and lobbying. Some of their notable clients are: In advertising, Coca Cola Company, and Yahoo!; In entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and The Eagles, and in consumer services, AT&T, Hilton Hotels Corporation, and Time Warner. Their internal revenue in 2007 was Green Arrow Up.svg$242 million.

National political life

In 1981, Manatt became the national chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and oversaw and executed the 1984 party convention, nominating former Vice President Walter Mondale of Minnesota for President, and New York congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro, making history as that marked the first time a woman was a major party nominee. The convention took place from July 16–19, 1984 in Moscone Center, San Francisco. The permanent chairman that year was Martha Layne Collins of Kentucky. Mondale was chosen on the first ballot. That year, the keynote speaker on the first evening of the convention was Governor Mario Cuomo of New York. Although the convention was considered a great success, the Mondale-Ferraro ticket could not get traction against the popularity of then-president and Republican Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush.

In 1987, he chaired Illinois Sen. Paul Simon's presidential campaign and co-chaired the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, 1992.[2]

Later life

At the time of his death Manatt resided in Washington, D.C. where he helped run and work at his law firm, and was engaged in numerous civic activities. He had a granddaughter and grandson, Victoria and Patrick, the children of his daughter Michele Manatt, a former U.S. State Department and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy official, and her husband Wolfram Anders, an investment professional with the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group. Their son Daniel, founder of, and his wife Nikole Manatt, staff member of the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, have three children, Allison, Caitlin, and Charles Lucas.


Charles Manatt died at age 75 on the evening of July 22, 2011 in Richmond, Virginia after prolonged illness and hospitalization.[3]


  1. Shaila Dewan (July 23, 2011). "Charles Manatt, Former Democratic National Chairman, Dies at 75". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Charles Manatt, former DNC chair, dies at 75 - Mike Allen". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2014-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Barabak, Mark (July 23, 2011). "Charles T. Manatt, Democratic Party leader and diplomat, dies at 75". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-07-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
John C. White
Democratic National Committee Chairman
Succeeded by
Paul G. Kirk
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Mari Carmen Aponte
United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic
Succeeded by
Hans H. Hertell