John Lardner (sports writer)

John Lardner (1912–1960) was an American sports writer and the son of Ring Lardner.


Lardner attended Phillips Academy, graduating in 1929. After one year at Harvard, he left for the Sorbonne in Paris[1] for a year, where he wrote for the International Herald Tribune. Never finishing his college degree, he elected instead to work for the New York Herald Tribune from 1931 onward, following in his father’s path as a sports writer. Lardner wrote a weekly column for Newsweek called “Sport Week,” for 15 years beginning in 1933.[2]

He later became a war correspondent during World War II, dispatching from Europe and Africa.[3] He also deployed with the first American troops (Army and Navy) to Australia in 1942, and wrote the book "Southwest Passage", published in 1943, documenting that experience. Additionally, he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Woman's Home Companion. Lardner also worked with his brother Ring Lardner Jr. on film projects, and helped support his brother's family when Lardner Jr. was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and 1950s.[1] He served on the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1959 to 1960.[4] He died in March 1960, after years of fighting tuberculosis.[1][2]

Subsequently his friend, the author Roger Kahn, gathered many of his pieces into a book, "The World of John Lardner." Another friend, cartoonist Walt Kelly, designed the jacket and wrote a preface. Some of Lardner's work was collected into a later book, The John Lardner Reader: A Press Box Legend's Classic Sportswriting, by sports writer John Schulian in 2010.[3] Lardner’s papers are located at the Newberry Library in Chicago.[1]

Personal life

Lardner, the first son of Ring Lardner and his wife Ellis, was born in Chicago, where his father was writing for the Chicago Examiner. However, the family moved to the East Coast when he was seven, eventually settling in Long Island, where their friends and neighbours included Grantland Rice, Franklin Pierce Adams, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.[1] He was married to Hazel Hairston and had three children.[2]



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 MacCambridge, Michael (January 16, 2013). "Director's Cut: 'Down Great Purple Valleys,' by John Lardner". Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 "John Lardner dies writing obit for F.P.A.". The Miami News. 25 March 1960. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  3. 1 2 Belth, Alex (14 October 2010). "John Lardner, a forgotten giant of the sportswriting world". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  4. "The Peabody Awards".

External links

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