Roger Eugene Ailes (May 15, 1940 – May 18, 2017) was an American media consultant and television executive.
Ailes was the founder and former Chairman and CEO of Fox News and the Fox Television Stations Group, from which he resigned in July 2016 following allegations that he sexually harassed female colleagues. Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush,and for Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign. In 2016, he was an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, where he assisted with debate preparation.
Ailes’ career in television began in Cleveland and Philadelphia, where he started as Property Assistant (1962), Producer (1965), and Executive Producer (1967–68) for KYW-TV, for a then-locally produced talk-variety show, The Mike Douglas Show. He continued as Executive Producer for the show when it was syndicated nationally, and in 1968 was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for it.
In 1984, Ailes worked on the campaign to reelect Ronald Reagan. In 1987 and 1988, Ailes was credited (along with Lee Atwater) with guiding George H. W. Bush to victory in the Republican primaries and the later come-from-behind victory over Michael Dukakis. Ailes scripted and (with Sig Rogich) produced the “Revolving Door” ad, as well as all of Bush’s broadcast spots in the primary and general-election campaigns. Ailes’s TV ads for the 1988 Bush campaign were extensively examined in the award-winning documentary film Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.
In 1988, Ailes wrote a book with long-time aide Jon Kraushar, called You Are the Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators, in which he discussed some of his philosophies and strategies for successful performance in the public eye.
On October 7, 1996, Ailes became the founding CEO of Fox News.
Ailes died May 18, 2017,at his home in Palm Beach, Florida. His death was first announced by his wife, Elizabeth, in a statement on Drudge Report. “I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” she said in a statement.The cause of death is not known.
In a 2013 book excerpt from Roger Ailes: Off Camera, Ailes spoke about facing death, saying, “Because of my hemophilia, I’ve been prepared to face death all of my life. When it comes, I’ll be fine, calm. I’ll miss life, though. Especially my family.”