P.J. O’Rourke, prolific author, satirist and ex-editor of National Lampoon, dies at the age of 74 at home in Ohio after battling an illness
- P.J. O’Rourke was a prolific author and satirist who re-fashioned the irreverence and ‘Gonzo’ journalism of the 1960s counterculture into a distinctive brand of conservative and libertarian commentary
- O’Rourke died Tuesday morning, according to Grove Atlantic Inc. Books publisher and president Morgan Entrekin
- He died from complications of lung cancer after having been ill in recent months
P.J. O’Rourke, the prolific author and satirist who re-fashioned the irreverence and ‘Gonzo’ journalism of the 1960s counterculture into a distinctive brand of conservative and libertarian commentary, has died at age 74.
O’Rourke died on Tuesday morning from lung cancer, according to his publisher Grove Atlantic Inc. He had been ill in recent months.
‘Our dear friend and cherished Grove Atlantic author P. J. O’Rourke passed away this morning from complications of lung cancer,’ Deb Seager, vice president and spokeswoman at the publishing company, said in statement provided to NBC News.
‘A journalist and political satirist, O’Rourke wrote over twenty books on subjects as diverse as politics, cars, etiquette, and economics, including his two #1 New York Times Bestsellers, Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance.’
The author became known for his work as editor-in-chief of the National Lampoon in the 1970s, which included contributions to the 1973 stage show National Lampoon’s Lemmings which helped launch the performing careers of John Belushi, Christopher Guest, and Chevy Chase.
He also served as a co-editor of the comedy book National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody, which inspired the 1978 hit film Animal House.
P.J. O’Rourke, the prolific author and satirist who re-fashioned the irreverence and ‘Gonzo’ journalism of the 1960s counterculture into a distinctive brand of conservative and libertarian commentary, has died at age 74
O’Rourke was a Toledo, Ohio, native who evolved from long-haired student activist to wavy-haired scourge of his old liberal ideals, with some of his more widely read take downs appearing in a founding counterculture publication, Rolling Stone.
His career otherwise extended from the early years of National Lampoon to a brief stint on 60 Minutes in which he represented the conservative take on Point/Counterpoint to frequent appearances on NPR’s game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
Over the course of his career O’Rourke penned more than 20 books covering topics such as politics, economics and automobiles.
In addition to Rolling Stone, he wrote for the Atlantic Monthly before contributing to the pages of Automobile Magazine, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Car and Driver, The Daily Beast and The Weekly Standard.
His writing style suggested a cross between the hedonism of Hunter S. Thompson and the patrician mockery of Tom Wolfe: Self-importance was a reliable target. But his greatest disdain was often for the government — not just a specific administration, but government itself and what he called ‘the silken threads of entitlement spending.’
In a 2018 column for a venerable conservative publication, The Weekly Standard, he looked on with scorn at Washington, D.C.’s gentrification.
‘People are flocking to the seat of government power. One would say ‘dogs returning to their vomit’ except that’s too hard on dogs. Too hard on people, also. They come to Washington because they have no choice — diligent working breeds compelled to eat their regurgitated tax dollars,’ he wrote.
O’Rourke’s books included the best sellers Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance, None of My Business and A Cry from the Middle.
Entrekin told The Associated Press that he had been working on a one-volume look at the United States, as seen from his hometown: A History of Toledo, Ohio: From the Beginning of Time Til the End of the Universe.
He is survived by his wife, Tina O’Rourke, and their three children – Olivia, Clifford and Elizabeth.
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