Unspeakable Times

The Video of Budd Dwyer's Suicide Is Infamous, But Do You Know Why He Did It?

Robert Budd Dwyer was a politician and state official who served on the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1971 to 1981. From 1981 until his passing on January 22, 1987, Dwyer also served as the Treasurer of Pennsylvania. However, Dwyer is best known for his public suicide. Unlike other public figures who passed while in office, this case was unique in that television news crews were there to witness the entire event. In fact, several cameras recorded the incident as it happened because the disgraced treasurer had called a public press conference and invited the media to attend, knowing he was going to end his own life.

A few news stations depicted the controversial death on television in its entirety, and Budd Dwyer is now one of the most well-known cases of someone who took their own life. However, most people are unaware of exactly why Budd Dwyer did what he did. Leading up to incident he was the 30th State Treasurer for Pennsylvania and allegedly became involved in a graft to award a government contract in exchange for a large kickback. The crime's discovery and Dwyer's subsequent convictions reportedly led him to end his life very publicly - one day before his sentencing.

In 2010, Eighty Four Films released Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer, directed by James Dirschberger. The documentary details the CTA scandal surrounding Dwyer's political downfall and the events that culminated into a once well-respected politician taking his own life.