(b. Palo Alto, California, 19 June 1914; d. Los Altos, California, 31 December 2000)
US; US Senator 1969–93 Cranston's early career was in journalism. He was the foreign correspondent for International News (1936–8); but he moved to become a lobbyist for the Common Council for American Unity before going into the army. From 1947 until 1967 Cranston was involved in the real estate business.
His long political career in California politics started when he became California controller in 1958, a post he occupied until 1966. In 1968 he was elected to the Senate, where he served until 1993.
Cranston was a long-term supporter of world government and disarmament, positions which may have found some echo in California but which put him on the far left of the Democratic Party. His mixture of idealism and pragmatism enabled him to exercise some influence in the Senate. He was a member of the Banking Committee and chairman of the Veterans Committee. He was also Democratic majority whip. In 1984 Cranston made an unsuccessful attempt to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.
After retirement from the Senate Cranston served as chairman of the US Kyrgiz Business Council 1993–4.