Glenn O’Brien, Writer And Editor Who Gained Fame With Warhol, Dies At 70

by MR Magazine Staff

Glenn O’Brien, an influential writer and editor who was a social fixture in the downtown Manhattan art, music and fashion world for a half-century, died of pneumonia on Friday in Manhattan. He was 70. His wife, Gina Nanni, confirmed his death, at NYU Langone Medical Center. He had been treated for an undisclosed illness for several years and contracted pneumonia a week ago. Over the decades, Mr. O’Brien developed a kaleidoscopic career that seemed to mirror the evolution of the downtown sensibility itself. It began in 1971, when Andy Warhol hired him to work on — and shortly thereafter, edit — Interview, Mr. Warhol’s take on a celebrity magazine. While Mr. Warhol famously quipped that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, Mr. O’Brien apparently took this dictum and added a personal twist: For some 45 years, he seemed to be famous every 15 minutes, and always for something entirely different. In addition to his work as an editor, art and music columnist, essayist, and poet, Mr. O’Brien was a television host (of the punk-era public access show “TV Party”), a stand-up comedian (once opening for David Johansen’s Buster Poindexter act), and screenwriter (his “Downtown 81” had its premiere at Cannes). Along the way, Mr. O’Brien also made his mark as a creative director (Barneys New York), advertising copywriter (including a number of major Calvin Klein television campaigns), book editor (Madonna’s “Sex”), playwright (“Drugs,” which he wrote with Cookie Mueller), and author (the tartly opinionated advice guide “How to Be a Man: A Guide to Style and Behavior for the Modern Gentleman,” published in 2011). Read more at The New York Times.