The Chatter

Former Gov. Marvin Mandel Dies at 95

Family announces once colorful and controversial governor passed away after celebrating son’s birthday in St. Mary’s County.

By Ron Cassie | August 31, 2015, 12:15 pm

The Chatter

Former Gov. Marvin Mandel Dies at 95

Family announces once colorful and controversial governor passed away after celebrating son’s birthday in St. Mary’s County.

By Ron Cassie | August 31, 2015, 12:15 pm

Marvin Mandel, who served as Maryland’s governor from 1969 to 1979, died Sunday afternoon at 95 after spending the weekend celebrating his son’s 50th birthday in St. Mary’s County, his family announced last night.

Mandel was widely praised for modernizing the state government—organizing more than 200 independent state agencies into 12 cabinet-level departments, for example—but also proved a controversial figure during his tenure. He was convicted of mail fraud and racketeering after being found guilty of helping friends profit from a racetrack deal.

He also went through a public and messy divorce while in office, declaring he was in love with another woman.

A Democrat, Mandel served in the House of Delegates for 17 years, including five years as speaker of the House. He took over as governor in 1969 when Spiro Agnew resigned to become Richard Nixon’s vice president. Subsequently, he was elected twice to office by landslide margins.

Ultimately, Mandel was sentenced to four years in prison on the fraud and racketeering charges, a term which then-president Ronald Reagan later commuted to 19 months. However, his conviction was eventually overturned in 1989 and Mandel won back the right to practice law again.

Eventually, Mandel staged something of a political comeback—not to elected office—but as a behind-the-scenes advisor and power player.

In 2003, then-governor Robert Ehrlich, a Republican, appointed Mandel to lead a commission studying government efficiency. Ehrlich also appointed Mandel to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.

Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted last night that he was “addened to learn of the loss of a great leader, mentor, and friend, Gov. Marvin Mandel,” and said flags would fly at half-staff in Mandel’s honor.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released the following statement:

“I join all of Baltimore in expressing my sorrow over the passing of former Gov. Marvin Mandel. I know that Governor Mandel will be remembered for many accomplishments during his time in state government, particularly the instrumental role he played in developing and promoting public transit in our region. I will fondly remember his love of state and local politics and the stories he would share. My thoughts and prayers are with Governor Mandel's family."

Mandel was born and raised in Baltimore City. He graduated high school from Baltimore’s City College and went on to earn Bachelor of Arts and law degrees from the University of Maryland. He also served in the U.S. Army.

“Governor Mandel was a great governor but more importantly a great father and grandfather,” his son Paul Dorsey said in a statement. “He spent his final weekend with family in St. Mary’s County eating crabs and enjoying the beautiful scenery that St. Mary’s has to offer. He lived life to the fullest.”





Meet The Author

Ron Cassie is a senior editor for Baltimore, where he covers the environment, education, medicine, politics, and city life.



You May Also Like


The Chatter

Small Business Owners Greet Drivers on President Street This Week

Group gives out flowers and candy as part of new Love Local Bmore initiative.

The Chatter

How to Celebrate MLK Day in Baltimore

Honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy with kids' programs, yoga, arts, and more.

The Chatter

Chef Connie Johnson Chosen to Cook at Super Bowl LIV in Miami

The UMMC food manager hopes the experience will boost her healthy-eating programs for kids.


The Chatter

Cardinal Shehan Choir Heads Back to ‘The View’ on MLK Day

This time, the group will be joined by Krieger Schechter and sing with Billy Porter.

The Chatter

Lexington Market Renovation Will Break Ground Next Week

Developers and city leaders talk safety and environmental concerns as work gets underway.

News & Community

Cameo: Jessica Watson and Shervonne Cherry

We sit down with the co-founders of Baltimore Womxn in Tech.

Connect With Us

Most Read


What to Know About the Maryland Cycling Classic Coming September 2020: For starters, Baltimore's pro cycling event will be more than 100 miles long.

Will Judge Make an Example Out of Catherine Pugh?: With the former mayor’s sentencing scheduled for February, both sides get to work on their case.

Caleeb Pinkett Screens 'Charm City Kings' at Sundance Film Festival: Producer talks source material, filming in Baltimore, and his famous family.

Maryland Politicians React to Trump Impeachment: Local leaders reflect and look ahead at Senate trial.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Declares For Late Husband’s Seat: We break down the familiar faces in upcoming special Democratic primary.