PJ O'Rourke dies at 74 at home in Ohio after battling illness

PJ O’Rourke dies at 74 at home in Ohio after battling illness

PJ O’Rourke, prolific writer, satirist and former editor of National Lampoon, has died at the age of 74 at her home in Ohio after battling an illness.

  • PJ O’Rourke was a prolific writer and satirist who transformed the irreverence and “gonzo” journalism of the 1960s counterculture into a brand of conservative and libertarian commentary.
  • According to publisher and president of Grove Atlantic Inc. Books by Morgan Entrekin, O’Rourke died Tuesday morning.
  • He did not give a specific reason, but said that O’Rourke had been ill in recent months.

PJ O’Rourke, the prolific writer and satirist who turned the irreverent and “gonzo” counterculture journalism of the 1960s into a distinct brand of conservative and libertarian commentary, has died at 74.

According to publisher and president of Grove Atlantic Inc. Books by Morgan Entrekin, O’Rourke died Tuesday morning. He did not give a specific reason, but said that O’Rourke had been ill in recent months.

O’Rourke was a native of Toledo, Ohio, a native who turned from a long-haired student activist into a wavy scourge of his old liberal ideals.

Otherwise, his career spanned from the early days of National Lampoon to a brief stint on 60 Minutes, in which he presented a conservative take on Point/Counterpoint, to frequent appearances on the NPR game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell. To me!’

PJ O'Rourke, the prolific writer and satirist who turned the irreverent and

PJ O’Rourke, the prolific writer and satirist who turned the irreverent and “gonzo” counterculture journalism of the 1960s into a distinct brand of conservative and libertarian commentary, has died at 74.

His writing style was somewhere between Hunter S. Thompson’s hedonism and Tom Wolfe’s patrician derision: self-importance was a safe target. But his greatest contempt was often for government—not just for a particular administration, but for government itself and for what he called “the silk threads of benefit spending.”

In a 2018 column for the respected conservative The Weekly Standard, he watched the gentrification of Washington DC with disdain.

“People flock to the seat of government. One could say “dogs go back to their vomit” but that’s too hard for dogs. Plus, he’s too strict with people. They come to Washington because they have no choice – diligent working breeds forced to eat their discarded tax dollars,” he wrote.

O’Rourke’s books included the bestsellers Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance, None of My Business, and Cry in the Middle.

Entrekin told the Associated Press that he was working on a one-volume survey of the United States from the perspective of his hometown: “A History of Toledo, Ohio: From the Beginning of Time to the End of the Universe.”

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