Eleanor Mondale, the vivacious daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale who was a television entertainment reporter, radio show host and occasional magnet for gossip, died Saturday at her Minnesota home, a family spokeswoman said. She was 51.
“Our wonderful daughter … after her long and gutsy battle against cancer, went up to heaven last night,” the former vice president said in a statement emailed to friends.
Mondale had left her job co-hosting a weekday morning radio show in Minneapolis in 2009 when she announced the return of brain cancer.
The middle of three children of Walter and Joan Mondale, she was born in 1960 in Minneapolis. In her 20s, she stumped for her father in his failed campaign to unseat President Reagan in 1984. He had served as vice president from 1977 to 1981 under Jimmy Carter.
Eleanor Mondale had a bit of a wild streak. She had a relationship with rock musician Warren Zevon and was known on the party circuit when she was younger.
She started her career as an actress, appearing in small parts on such shows as “Three’s Company” and “Dynasty” before becoming an entertainment reporter.
She joined a Minneapolis TV station in 1989 but quit eight months later just before a Twin Cities magazine published an article called “Walter and Joan’s Wild Child.” Mondale denied that she had been forced out.
Her forays into television included stints at E! Entertainment, ESPN and CBS’ “This Morning.” In 2006, she returned to Minnesota and joined the radio show.
Mondale was previously married to Keith Van Horne, a former USC football player and Chicago Bears offensive lineman, and radio disc jockey Greg Thunder.
Besides her parents, Mondale is survived by her third husband, rock musician Chan Poling, whom she married in 2005; and two brothers.