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Progressive Champion Tom Hayden Dies At 76

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Tom Hayden, a tribune of the 1960s counterculture and at the forefront of the anti-war and civil rights movement, and later a progressive California legislator, died on Sunday. He was 76.

His wife, Barbara Williams, confirmed the death to The Associated Press. Hayden who suffered from a heart condition, became ill earlier this year while attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Times reported.

During the 1960s, Hayden was one of the nation's best-known radicals, helping to found the Students for a Democratic Society, a student activist organization that served as a nucleus for the New Left and the Anti-War movement.

Hayden was one of the freedom riders, challenging segregationist policies in the south and after being beaten and jailed in Mississippi, he used the time to write the first draft of what would become The Huron Statement, the political manifesto of S.D.S. and the New Left.

Hayden also was a central figure in the anti-war movement, controversially visiting Vietnam with Jane Fonda to escort home American prisoners of war.

Hayden was also arrested during the riots outside of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and was a defendant in the Chicago Seven trial and was convicted of crossing state lines to start a riot, but the conviction was later overturned on appeal.

In 1976, Hayden ran a very close campaign against then serving California U.S. Senator John V. Tunney, coming from far behind to nearly unseat him. However, Hayden would not win an election until 1982 when he was elected to the California State Legislature, holding office until 1992 when he successfully transitioned to the California State Senate.

Following his legislative career, Hayden directed the Peace and Justice Resource Center, a non-profit consultancy focused on different aspects of American foreign policy.

Hayden was also a prolific author, penning 20 books, ranging from re-examinations of the civil rights and anti-war movements, to environmentalism and drug policy. He taught at California colleges and at Harvard, and wrote articles for The Times, The Washington Post, and The Nation.

Hayden was married three times, briefly to fellow civil rights activist Casey Cason, to actress and activist Jane Fonda from 1973 to 1990 and Barbara Williams until his death. – Staff Writers