P. J. O'Rourke Biography

(Political Satirist & Author)

Birthday: November 14, 1947 (Scorpio)

Born In: Toledo, Ohio, U.S

Patrick Jake ‘P. J.’ O'Rourke was an American political satirist, journalist and author. He is well-known for his books like Don't Vote! - It Just Encourages the Bastards, Holidays in Heck and The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again). His books titled Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance made it to the New York Times Best Seller List. He was brought up in a middle-class family and was a leftist in his views about politics when he was young but he went through a major change in his political outlook and emerged as a political observer and a satirist with libertarian ideas. He is known for his upfront and dark-satirical take on the political and cultural scenario of America. He began his career with the National Lampoon, an underground, satirical magazine. O’Rourke was the H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and was a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The Weekly Standard and The American Spectator. He was also a frequent panelist on National Public Radio's game show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Patrick Jake O'Rourke

Died At Age: 74


Spouse/Ex-: Amy Lumet, Tina

father: Clifford O'Rourke

mother: Delphine

children: Clifford, Elizabeth, Olivia

Born Country: United States

Writers Journalists

Died on: February 15, 2022

place of death: Sharon, New Hampshire, U.S.

U.S. State: Ohio

City: Toledo, Ohio

More Facts

education: Johns Hopkins University, Miami University

Childhood & Early Life
P. J. O’Rourke was born in Toledo, Ohio, in a middle-class family to a car dealer and a housewife.
He did his under-graduation from Miami University in Ohio and pursued M.A. in English from John Hopkins University and was a part of the Alpha Delta Phi Literary Society.
O’Rourke was a leftist in his political views when he was growing up but he went through a major change in his political outlook and emerged as a political observer and a satirist with libertarian ideas.
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O’Rourke started his career by writing articles for various American publications, like, The Rip Off Review of Western Culture, which was an underground magazine and comic book, in 1972.
He joined National Lampoon in 1973, after working for publications like Harry (a Baltimore underground newspaper) and the New York Ace. At the National Lampoon, he worked as managing editor.
He wrote articles such as ‘Foreigners Around the World’ and ‘How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink’ for the National Lampoon.
He earned a writing acknowledgment for National Lampoon's Lemmings, a spinoff of the National Lampoon humor magazine in 1973. It was a stage show, which kick started the careers of John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Christopher Guest.

O’Rourke also co-authored National Lampoon's 1964 High School Yearbook with writer Douglas Kenney. The book became a bestseller and a number of its themes were adapted into the movie Animal House.

He left the National Lampoon in 1981 and started freelancing thereafter. He contributed his work to publications like, Playboy, Vanity Fair, Car and Driver, and Rolling Stone. He soon became the foreign-affairs desk chief at the Rolling Stone.
In 1996, O’Rourke was the conservative commentator in the point-counterpoint segment of “60 Minutes”, an American television newsmagazine program on the CBS television network.

He authored 17 books, including three New York Times bestsellers. Parliament of Whores (1991) and Give War a Chance (1992) reached topped the New York Times Best Seller List.

O'Rourke was a ‘Real Time Real Reporter’ for Real Time with Bill Maher covering the 2008 Presidential Election. He also published books like, ‘On the Wealth of Nations: Books That Changed the World (2007)’ and ‘Driving Like Crazy (2009)’.
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Some of his other notable works also include Don’t Vote! –It Just Encourages the Bastards (2010), Holidays in Heck (2011) and The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again) (2014).

Major Works
The most prominent work of O’Rourke’s career is considered to be his 16 satirical and politically incorrect books on politics and culture. His ‘Parliament of Whores (1991)’ and ‘Give War a Chance (1992)’ were No.1 on New York Times Best Seller List.
Personal Life, Legacy & Death

O'Rourke was married to Amy Lumet from 1990 to 1993.

He got married to his second wife, Tina, in 1995 and the couple had two daughters and a son.

In 2008, he was diagnosed with treatable anal cancer; he had a 95% chance of survival with that. He announced it publicly in his typical humorous and satirical style.


P. J. O'Rourke died on 15 February 2022, from lung cancer, at the age of 74, at his home in New Hampshire. 

He described the Presidency of Barack Obama as "the Carter administration in better sweaters" in 2008.
One of his brilliant pieces ‘How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink’, a National Lampoon article was republished in two of his books, ‘Republican Party Reptile (1987)’ and ‘Driving Like Crazy (2009)’.
His bestselling book, ‘Parliament of Whores’, subtitled ‘A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government’ talks about how politics is boring for the general public.

He used to type his manuscripts on an IBM Selectric typewriter and found it tricky to write on a computer because of his short attention span difficulties.

He was the face of a long-running series of television advertisements for British Airways in England in the 1990s.
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