Richardson, Elliot (Lee)(1920– ) lawyer, cabinet member; born in Boston, Mass. A lawyer, he was Massachusetts' lieutenant governor (1965–67) and attorney general (1967–69). After serving as Nixon's secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (1970–73), he served briefly as secretary of defense (1973). He became attorney general in 1973, but resigned in protest for the firing of Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox. Secretary of Commerce (1976–77), he was the chief U.S. negotiator for the international Law of the Sea (1978–80) before returning to private practice. He was the only man in U.S. history to have held four different cabinet posts.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.