Mark K. Updegrove
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Mark K. Updegrove
Mark K. Updegrove
Mark K. Updegrove 2016.jpg
Born (1961-08-25) August 25, 1961 (age 58)
Abington, Pennsylvania, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, Historian, Journalist, Television Commentator, Presidential Library Director
Alma materUniversity of Maryland, College Park
SubjectUnited States Presidency
Notable worksIndomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency
SpouseAmy Banner Updegrove

Mark K. Updegrove[1] (born August 25, 1961) is an American author, historian, journalist, and Presidential Historian for ABC News. He is the president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation in Austin, Texas.[2] Previously, he served as the director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum for eight years.[3] He is the author of the book, The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush[4], published in 2017.


Updegrove was born outside Philadelphia in Abington, PA, on Aug. 25, 1961. He attended high school at the George School, which honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2015.[5] He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a Bachelor of Arts in economics in 1984.


In December 2017, Updegrove was named the president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation in Austin, Texas, after serving briefly as the inaugural CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum, to be built on Charleston Harbor, in South Carolina. From 2009 to 2017, he was the fourth director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Mark Updegrove at The Vietnam War Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2016. Photo by Jay Godwin.

As director of the LBJ Library, in 2014, Updegrove hosted the Civil Rights Summit, an historic three-day conference around the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act,[6] which included a keynote address by then President Barack Obama and programs with former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as programs with many civil rights luminaries including Julian Bond, John Lewis, and Andrew Young. The summit garnered international news coverage, including the New York Times profile on Updegrove titled, "Chronicler of Presidents Brings Four Together."

In April 2016, Updegrove hosted the Vietnam War Summit, a three-day conference, featuring a keynote address by then Secretary of State John Kerry.[7] Among the additional participants were Henry Kissinger, Ken Burns, and Medal of Honor Recipients Bruce Crandall, Bob Kerrey, and Joe Marm.

Early in his tenure at the library, Updegrove oversaw the $11 million renovation of the library's core exhibit on Lyndon Johnson and his administration, which opened in December 2012.[8][9]

Updegrove's December 2014 Politico article, What 'Selma' Gets Wrong,[10] ignited a controversy over the portrayal of Lyndon Johnson as an obstructionist on voting rights in the film Selma, touching off a debate about the importance of accuracy in films based on historic events. In January 2015, Updegrove addressed the issue on CBS' Face the Nation.[11]

As an author, journalist, or director of the LBJ Library, Updegrove has conducted exclusive interviews with five U.S. Presidents: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald R. Ford. Among others, he has also conducted exclusive interviews or moderated public conversations with Hank Aaron, David Axelrod, James Baker, Joe Biden, Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, Ken Burns, Rosalynn Carter, Julian Castro, Hillary Clinton, Bryan Cranston, Robert Gates, Doris Kearns Goodwin, John Glenn, Eric Holder, Mikhail Gorbachev, John Kerry, Henry Kissinger, Sandra Day O'Connor, Robert Redford, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and Neil Gorsuch.

Updegrove spent much of his early career in magazine publishing, including serving as manager of Time Magazine in Los Angeles; president of Time Canada, Time's separate Canadian edition and operation; and, publisher of Newsweek.


Updegrove's most recent book, The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, was released in November 2017 with exclusive stories featured in the New York Times and on CNN, which reported on the book's revelations about the Bushes' views on Donald Trump. Through exclusive interviews with Updegrove, the book quotes former President George H.W. Bush as calling Donald Trump "a blowhard, and saying flatly, "I don't like him," while former President George W. Bush is quoted as saying, "Wow, this guy doesn't know what it means to be president." [12] When asked for his reaction to the Bushes' comments, President Trump, en route to Tokyo for a thirteen-day tour of Asia, said, "I'll comment after we come back. I don't want to make headlines. I don't want to make their move successful."[13]

Updegrove is the author of four books:

  • Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency (Crown Publishers, 2012)[14]
  • Baptism By Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office During Times of Crisis (St. Martins Press, 2009)[15]
  • Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House (Lyons Press, 2006)[16]
  • The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (HarperCollins, November 2017),[17] which includes material from exclusive interviews with both Bush presidents


Updegrove has written for American Heritage, The Daily Beast, The Hill, The Nation, National Geographic, The New York Times, Politico, Texas Monthly, Time, and is a contributing editor to Parade Magazine.

Television Commentator

As ABC News' Presidential Historian and "Good Morning America," Updegrove is called on to offer commentary on matters related to politics and the presidency, including the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, the 2016 election coverage and the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. He is a contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning," and has appeared on "The CBS Evening News," CNN, CSPN, "The Daily Show," "Face the Nation," Fox News, "Good Morning America," "Morning Joe," MSNBC, "NBC Nightly News," NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All things Considered," "The PBS News Hour," and "The Today Show." He has also been interviewed for numerous documentaries including,"Presidents at War","The Bush Years", "The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents," "What the Hell's the Presidency For?" and "The White House: The Inside Story."

Adjunct Professor/Lecturer

In 2013 and 2015, Updegrove taught "The Johnson Years" for Liberal Arts Honors students as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He has spoken extensively at numerous colleges and universities, museums, presidential libraries, and other public speaking forums.

Personal life

Updegrove is married to Amy Banner Updegrove, a marketing consultant who formerly served as publisher of Texas Monthly and president of Los Angeles Magazine. Both have two children from previous marriages. They live in Austin, TX.


  1. ^ Staff, Public Affairs. "Mark Updegrove Named New Director of LBJ Library". The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Updegrove stepping down as LBJ Library director". Retrieved .
  4. ^ Updegrove, Mark K. "The Last Republicans - Mark K. Updegrove - Hardcover". HarperCollins US. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Alumni Award Recipient 2015 - George School". Retrieved .
  6. ^ Zezima, Katie. "Obama: Doors 'swung open for me' because of LBJ's legacy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Tilove, Jonathan. "Vietnam War Summit at LBJ Library examines complex, tragic legacy". Austin American Statesman. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Shannon, Kelley. "LBJ library in Austin to unveil $10 million update Dec. 22". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2013.
  9. ^ Baskas, Harriet. "Oval Office audio tapes highlight redesigned LBJ Presidential Library". NBC News. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ "What 'Selma' Gets Wrong". Politico. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ "Does the film "Selma" portray LBJ unfairly?". Face the Nation. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Ealy, Charles. "'Indomitable Will' seeks to give LBJ due credit". Retrieved 2012.
  15. ^ Heilbrunn, Jacob. "Crisis Management". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2009.
  16. ^ "Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2006.
  17. ^ Updegrove, Mark K. "The Last Republicans - Mark K. Updegrove - Hardcover". HarperCollins US. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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