UPDATED: Former Republican Senator Orrin Hatch died today at the age of 88. The cause of death has not yet been made public.
The longest serving GOP Senator in American history and one-time president pro tem, Hatch represented Utah from the first year of Jimmy Carter’s lone term to the second year of Donald Trump’s one and only term in the White House. “Senator Hatch passed away at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by family,” said a statement in part from the Hatch Foundation today.
Hatch also was a champion of issues central to the entertainment industry, including intellectual property protection.
Charles Rivkin, the CEO of the Motion Picture Association, noted in a statement that Hatch was “an accomplished songwriter in his own right” and “stood at the fore of ensuring the success of the American creative community during his 42 years in the Senate. He fostered lasting, bipartisan support for the success of America’s artists, and he built a peerless legacy defending creativity and innovation through his seminal work on countless provisions of American law. From copyright to trade policy, Senator Hatch fiercely dedicated his tenure to bettering the lives of America’s artists.”
Curtis LeGeyt, the president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, called Hatch “a force of nature in the United States Senate, capable of guiding landmark legislation into law while also standing up for his principles.”
A fierce partisan politician for conservative causes and the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host in 2018, Hatch dabbled in the film and TV industry on both sides of the camera.
Having appeared in the likes of a 1993 episode of Murphy Brown, Parks and Recreation and Steven Soderbergh’s 200 film Traffic as himself, hardcore copyright law enforcer Hatch also contributed songs to the soundtracks of 2001’s Rat Race and 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve. During his long tenure in the Senate, including when he served as president pro tempore of the Senate starting in 2015, Homestead, Pennsylvania-born and LDS Church-raised Hatch recorded a number of songs and albums.
On the flip side, Frank Zappa’s 1988 album Guitar had an instrumental song called “Orrin Hatch On Skis” on it.
Having worked relentless for various Republican POTUS’ to ensure the current extremely conservative majority on the Supreme Court and women’s reproductive rights were curtailed, the Brigham Young University grad from humble beginnings retired from the Senate in January 2019. Today the man who succeed Hatch in his seat paid respect to his predecessor via social media:
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) April 24, 2022
As well as eliciting praise from the likes of former VP Mike Pence, Hatch also garnered homage from the other side of aisle:
Sad news to hear of the death of Senator Orrin Hatch, who served our nation in the Senate for 42 years. Please keep his family and friends in your prayers.
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) April 24, 2022
There has been no statement yet from the White House and Hatch’s long-time Senate colleague Joe Biden yet, but that will surely come in the morning.
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