Byrd, Robert Carlyle, 1917–2010, U.S. senator from West Virginia (1959–2010), b. North Wilkesboro, N.C., as Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr. A Democrat, he served (1947–52) in the West Virginia legislature and (1953–59) in the U.S. House of Representatives before entering the Senate. In 1971 he defeated Senator Edward Kennedy for the position of Senate majority whip and was later Senate majority leader (1977–81, 1987–88) and Senate minority leader (1981–87). He also chaired the Senate appropriations committee (1989–95, 2001–3, 2007–9). Byrd, who was one of the longest serving members of the U.S. Senate and Congress, was noted for his oratory and his skill in parliamentary maneuvering. He wrote several books, including a history of the Senate (1989, based on his addresses) and Losing America (2004).
See his autobiography (2005).
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