The younger brother of former President George H. W. Bush died one day before his 90th birthday

By Adam Carlson
May 06, 2021 05:23 PM
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George Bush with friend Gerry Bemiss and brother Jonathan. January 1976
Jonathan (left) and George H. W. Bush in 1976
| Credit: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Jonathan Bush, a former fundraiser, investment manager, dancer and the last living sibling of his generation of the storied political family, has died. He was 89.

The younger brother of late President George H. W. Bush and father of Extra's Billy Bush, Jonathan died Wednesday, one day before his 90th birthday, at home in Jupiter, Florida, the Associated Press reported.

A cause of death was not disclosed.

"There goes the greatest man I'll ever know," Billy wrote in a Thursday Instagram post along with several photos of his father.

"Happy 90th dad and thanks for this great life and being the best dad ever," Billy continued. "Everything worth knowing I got from you and mom. I watched you leave this earth and I know exactly where you are now. It makes me happy. I feel blessed. The legend will never fade.

The George & Barbara Bush Foundation also mourned Jonathan in a statement on Thursday: "Our prayers and love are with the Bush family as we remember a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and brother, a fine gentleman, and a noble soul."

President Bush golfs with his brothers, Prescott, Bucky, and Jonathan in Kennebunkport, Maine. 01 Jul 91
The four Bush brothers in 1991
| Credit: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Barbara Bush dances with her new brother-in-law, Jonathan Bush, Rye, NY, 06 Jan 45.
From left: Barbara Bush dances with her new brother-in-law Jonathan Bush in 1945
| Credit: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

"And knowing Jonathan," the statement continued, "he also would like for us to observe he was a great song and dance man — without a doubt the best dancer of his siblings, all of whom he now joins in heaven."

Indeed, Jonathan spent some four and a half years as a dancer and actor (and performed in five productions of Oklahoma!) after leaving the Army, according to The New York Times. But he left show business and turned to finance after failing an audition for a Broadway show when he was 30.

Later in life, Jonathan became influential in Republican politics in New York and was a fundraiser for his brother — though he demurred in a 1988 interview with the Times on joining the Bush administration: "It just isn't right for family to get involved. I have a good relationship in which I can express my feelings."

"I like being involved,'' Jonathan said then. ''I like competition. Politics is a big game of gossip; there's certainly no money in it.''