Mr. Warner was also skeptical of President George W. Bush’s troop build-up in Iraq in 2007. But he has never broken with the government to support a set deadline for troop withdrawals. This position frustrated the Democrats, who had hoped Mr. Warner would use his influence over their opposition to the war, and they accused him of failing to hold strong talks against the conflict.
Along with Senator John McCain, who had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Warner thwarted the Bush administration’s efforts to reinterpret the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of War Prisoners. This approach, the Senators said, would open captured American military personnel to abuse.
Mr. Warner was not averse to entering into difficult political situations in the Senate. In 2002, he was one of the first to speak out against Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi, after Mr. Lott made a racially accused comment. Mr. Warner’s stand contributed to Mr. Lott’s decision to step down as majority leader. He was also a leading member of the so-called Gang of 14, a non-partisan group of Senators that reached an independent agreement to appoint judicial officers in 2005 and averted a fight over the future of the filibuster in the Senate.
Mr. Warner, a Debonair Virginian, has sometimes been referred to as the Central Casting Senator. His ramrod military posture, sleek gray hair, and occasionally exaggerated speaking style suit the Hollywood model.
John William Warner III was born in Washington on February 18, 1927 to John Jr. and Martha (Budd) Warner and attended schools in Washington and Virginia. He left high school at the age of 17 to join the Navy and serve in the final months of World War II. He graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1949 and enrolled at the University of Virginia Law School before joining the Marines during the Korean War. He returned to law school to graduate in 1953.
Mr. Warner was then a clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then from 1956 to 1960 the US assistant attorney in the district. After serving in the private law practice for much of the 1960s, he was promoted to the Navy under the secretary of President Richard M. Nixon. He became secretary in 1972 and served for two years. He was the federal coordinator of the 1976 national bicentenary.
After his first divorce from a wealthy Mellon family, his marriage to Mrs. Taylor, and a public relationship with news anchor Barbara Walters, Mr. Warner earned a reputation as a playboy. But his long service in the Senate and a record marked by an independent phase ultimately overshadowed much of that image.
He had three children from his first marriage to Catherine Mellon. Among his survivors is his wife Jeanne (Vander Myde) Warner. Complete information on survivors was not immediately available.