Birthday: October 10, 1963
Nationality: American, Israeli
Died At Age: 38
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Danny
Born Country: United States
Born in: Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Famous as: Journalist
Spouse/Ex-: Mariane Pearl (m. 1999), Mariane Pearl (m. 1999–2002)
father: Judea Pearl
mother: Ruth Pearl
siblings: Michelle Pearl, Tamara Pearl
children: Adam Pearl
Died on: February 1, 2002
U.S. State: New Jersey
education: Stanford University, Gaspar De Portola Middle School, Birmingham Community Charter High School
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist who was captured and beheaded by terrorists in Pakistan. Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Daniel was raised in Los Angeles, where his father worked as a professor of computer science and statistics at the ‘University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA). His mother was an Iraqi Jew. Following his graduation from the ‘Birmingham High School,’ Daniel attended ‘Stanford University.’ Eventually, he majored in communication. He also served as a co-founder of the student newspaper named ‘Stanford Communicator.’ After earning a BA in communication from the ‘Stanford University,’ he worked as an intern at ‘The Indianapolis Star’ newspaper. He embarked on long trips to China, Soviet Union, and Europe, following which he decided to build a career in journalism. Soon, he moved back to the US to work with the ‘Berkshire Eagle’ in Massachusetts. In 1990, he joined ‘The Wall Street Journal.’ He was made the Southeast Asia Bureau Chief of ‘The Wall Street Journal’ and thus moved to Mumbai. In January 2002, he was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. The terrorists who kidnapped him released a video, stating their demands to the US government. When the demands were not met, Daniel was beheaded on February 1, 2002. A video showcasing his beheading was subsequently released.
Childhood & Early Life
Daniel Pearl was born on October 10, 1963, in Princeton, New Jersey, to Ruth and Judea Pearl. His father was an Israeli Jew of Polish descent, while his mother was an Iraqi Jew. Daniel had two sisters.
Daniel’s father, Judea, was a scholar and a college professor. Sometime after Daniel was born, the family moved to the Encino district of Los Angeles, where Judea took up a job as a professor at the ‘UCLA,’ one of the best universities in America. Judea taught statistics and computer science. He also served as the director of the ‘Cognitive Systems Laboratory.’ He was known as a renowned philosopher and also received a ‘Turing Award.’
Daniel received his early education from the ‘Portola Junior High School’ and later attended the ‘Birmingham High School.’ By the time he was in high school, he knew where his interests lay. He wanted to pursue a career in journalism.
In 1981, he enrolled at the ‘Stanford University’ and majored in communications. He was one of the brightest students in his program. He graduated with a ‘Phi Beta Kappa’ honor to his name and was a member of the ‘Alpha Delta Phi’ society.
He also served as the co-founder of the ‘Stanford Commentator,’ a university newspaper, and also worked as a campus reporter for the university radio station, ‘KZSU.’ He earned a BA degree in communications from ‘Stanford University’ and worked as a ‘Pulliam Fellow’ intern at the ‘Indianapolis Star’ newspaper.
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Always interested in international affairs, Daniel embarked on a trip to China, Soviet Russia, and Europe, to get a better perspective about the relationships the US had with those countries. He arrived back in the US soon and began working at the ‘North Adams Transcript’ in North Adams, Massachusetts. It was his first daily job as a journalist.
After working there for a while, he began working with a bigger newspaper, the ‘San Francisco Business Times.’ He never quite settled in one job and continued to switch jobs.
In 1990, he joined ‘The Wall Street Journal,’ one of the biggest American dailies, at its Atlanta bureau. Three years later, he moved to the newspaper’s Washington, D.C. bureau and worked in the telecommunications department.
He moved abroad in the 1990s, when he was posted at the London and Paris bureaus of ‘The Wall Street Journal.’ He wrote on various topics, ranging from music to international affairs.
Over time, he became more interested in covering international affairs. He covered a range of topics, such as the ethnic wars in the Balkan region and the American missile attack on Khartoum, Sudan. It was touted to be a military establishment, but Daniel’s in-depth investigation proved it to be a pharmaceutical factory.
His career received a big push when he was made the bureau chief of Southeast Asia in the early 2000s. He settled in Mumbai, India. When the US was waging a war on terrorism after 9/11, Daniel thought it would be apt for him to report about the happenings from Karachi, Pakistan.
Abduction & Death
On January 23, 2002, he was on his way to an interview that he had secured with Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani in a restaurant in Karachi. Around 7 in the evening, he was captured by a group that called themselves the ‘National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty.’ The group accused Daniel of being an American spy and a danger to the national security of Pakistan. They took him to an undisclosed location.
They used a ‘Hotmail’ address to send a list of demands to the US government in exchange for the safe return of Daniel. The demands included the freedom of several terror detainees of Pakistani descent and the delivery of ‘F-16’ fighter jets to the Pakistani government (which had been halted due to the 9/11 incident).
The group also warned that no American journalist would ever be able to enter Pakistan if their demands were not met. Both the American and Pakistani intelligence teams worked together to locate the kidnappers. The terrorists did not even adhere to the pleas of Daniel’s wife or his editor.
Nine days later, on February 1, 2002, Daniel Pearl was beheaded by the terrorists. On February 21, a video showcasing the beheading was released, where Daniel was seen introducing himself to the world. Daniel also criticized American foreign policies in the video, which many believe he had done under pressure from the terrorists.
The terrorists slit his throat and severed his head.
On May 16, his head and body were found cut into 10 pieces and buried in a shallow grave in Gadap, 30 miles away from Karachi. Daniel’s remains were sent to his family in the US. He received a proper funeral at the ‘Mount Sinai Memorial Park’ in Los Angeles.
By March 2013, all suspects were caught and were tried in court.
Following his demise, his parents founded the ‘Daniel Pearl Foundation,’ geared toward promoting cross-cultural understanding through art.
He was awarded with many honors posthumously.
Family & Personal Life
Daniel Pearl had married French journalist Mariane van Neyenhoff in 1999. She formerly worked as a reporter for ‘Glamour’ magazine. Their only son, Adam Daniel Pearl, was born about 4 months after the death of Daniel.