Democratic politician, seventy-seventh Governor of Georgia, and nine-term member of the Georgia House of Representatives. Also an attorney, he set up a legal practice in Albany, Georgia, and later worked for an Atlanta-based firm.
After studying at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and at the Georgia Military College, he served in the United States Navy. In the early 1950s, he graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law.
His wife published a cookbook of her preferred recipes from the kitchen of the Georgia Governor's Mansion.
His nearly five-decade marriage to Mary Elizabeth Talbot produced two daughters (Jan and Beth) and two sons (George and Jeff).
He succeeded future United States President Jimmy Carter as Governor of Georgia.