Budd Dwyer: His TV Suicide And Everything That Led Up To It

(Eighty Four Films, LLC)

On January 22, 1987, Robert Budd Dwyer, the acting Pennsylvania state treasurer, pulled out a .357 Magnum during a press conference, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger in front of reporters, family members, and untold numbers of home viewers. Why would a small-time state politician do such a thing?

Who Was Budd Dwyer?

Budd Dwyer was into politics from an early age. After graduating from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, he entered the local scene before winning a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Republican in 1970. He went on to become a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate before running for state treasurer in 1980. 

During his stint as treasurer, investigators in Pennsylvania learned that a clerical error caused some state workers to overpay millions of dollars in taxes. Computer Technology Associates won the bid to sort the whole mess out, and a few months later, an anonymous source told Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh that C.T.A. bribed Pennsylvania officials, including Dwyer, to make sure they did.