PJ O’Rourke, A Legendary Conservative Writer And Satirist, Dies At The Age Of 74

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Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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P.J. O’Rourke, a legendary American political satirist and journalist, died Tuesday at the age of 74 from lung cancer complications.

O’Rourke was the author of over 20 books, including two New York Times bestsellers, “Parliament of Whores,” and “Give War a Chance.” He was also the editor-in-chief of the former humor magazine “National Lampoon” from 1978 to 1980.

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz eulogized O’Rourke Tuesday, saying he was, “for a long time, the only cool conservative writer in America.” Podhoretz remembered him as a kind man, and a great satirist and writer. He also wrote that O’Rourke “skewered clueless old leftists” with his sharp satire.

The vice president and spokeswoman of O’Rourke’s publisher, Grove Atlantic, confirmed his death in a statement.

“Our dear friend and cherished Grove Atlantic author P. J. O’Rourke passed away this morning from complications of lung cancer,” the statement reads. (RELATED: The DC Interview: P.J. O’Rourke talks Tea Parties and potheads)

“My generation’s funniest, most incisive and irreverent writer, a true lover of American liberty and the good life,” National Review senior writer David Harsanyi wrote of O’Rourke following his passing.

Faith Hill, an editor at The Atlantic, remembered O’Rourke’s irreverent satirical style. “The sense of fun that O’Rourke championed feels rarer now,” Hill wrote.

O’Rourke was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio and received his bachelor’s degree from Miami University in 1969. At John Hopkins University, O’Rourke received his Masters of Arts in English. O’Rourke, who described himself as a libertarian, was also an H.L. Mencken research fellow at the Cato Institute. He was a columnist at the Daily Beast from 2011 to 2016, and had his writing appear in publications such as Playboy, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone.

O’Rourke is survived by his wife, Tina Mallon, and their three children.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to reflect that O’Rourke’s wife’s name is Tina Mallon.