P.J. O'Rourke, Celebrated Conservative Satirist, Dead at 74 - Rolling Stone
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P.J. O’Rourke, Celebrated Journalist and Conservative Satirist, Dead at 74

The writer served as foreign-affairs desk chief at Rolling Stone and wrote for numerous publications

P.J. O'Rourke, Celebrated Conservative Satirist, Dead at 74P.J. O'Rourke, Celebrated Conservative Satirist, Dead at 74

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P.J. O’Rourke, the political satirist and journalist who served as foreign-affairs desk chief at Rolling Stone until 2005 and wrote for numerous publications, has died. He was 74. His death was confirmed by NBC News.

“Our dear friend and cherished Grove Atlantic author P.J. O’Rourke passed away this morning from complications of lung cancer,” Deb Seager, a vice president and spokeswoman at his publisher Grove Atlantic, said in a statement to NBC.

Respected for his wit and storytelling by people across the political spectrum, O’Rourke’s early essays suggested a liberal leaning after he earned an M.A. in English at Johns Hopkins University in 1970. However, he soon changed his political stance and his work reflected libertarian conservatism.

He wrote for several indie publications before landing at National Lampoon in 1973, where he had a variety of positions, including editor-in-chief. He also wrote for 1973 stage spinoff National Lampoon’s Lemmings, which featured John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Christopher Guest, and he co-wrote National Lampoon’s 1964 High School Yearbook with Douglas Kenney.

In 1981, he turned to freelancing, contributing to Rolling Stone and other publications before becoming the foreign-affairs desk chief, a role he served in until 2005, when he became a contributing editor. In 1992, he interviewed Bill Clinton on the campaign trail alongside Rolling Stone‘s Jann Wenner, Hunter S. Thompson, and William Greider.

O’Rourke also served as a broadcast conservative commentator and guest, appearing on shows such as 60 Minutes and Real Time With Bill Maher, and was a regular panelist on NPR’s quiz show hosted by Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!

In 2016, he famously endorsed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, announcing his begrudging decision during a Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! episode. “It’s the second-worst thing that can happen to this country. But she’s way behind in second place,” he said. “I mean, she’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.”

“It is very rare in life to be a fan of someone and then become their friend, but it happened to me with PJ, and I discovered something remarkable: Most well known people try to be nicer than they are in public than they are in private life,” Sagal wrote on Twitter. “PJ was the only man I knew to be the opposite.

“He was a deeply kind and generous man who pretended to be a curmudgeon for public consumption. He told the best stories,” Sagal continued. “He had the most remarkable friends. And he devoted himself to them and his family in a way that would have totally ruined his shtick had anyone ever found out. Like some other people I am (sic), it took him two tries to get marriage right, so he leaves behind a wife, Tina, and three children who are far too young to lose their husband and father. His work was wonderful. His heart was even better. I will miss him terribly.”

O’Rourke authored more than a dozen books, including Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance, both of which hit Number One on The New York Times bestseller list.

 

In This Article: obit, Obituary, p.j. o'rourke

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