ANC Website Top BANNER 2
Richard Grenier
Lieutenant, United States Navy
Newspaper Columnist
Massachusetts State Flag
Richard Grenier PHOTO

In memory of Richard Grenier
Courtesy of WorldNetDaily.com 

I hate memorial columns. I hate reading them. And I hate writing them particularly when they are about good friends, respected colleagues, contemporary heroes and personal role models.

This is just such a column. 

If you knew Richard Grenier either personally or through his work this will be a tough read. Imagine what it was like to write.

Back in the 1980s, I was a young newspaper editor on the West Coast. Living and working as a journalist in Los Angeles almost requires that you cover Hollyweird.

And that's just the way I found it weird.

But, at that time, I was alone in my assessment. I began writing a column devoted to the politics and morality (or lack thereof) in the entertainment industry. I also edited a newsletter called, incidentally, "Between the Lines."

It was a lonely time to be a cultural crusader. There were few allies in the business. There were few others blazing the same trail. Richard Grenier was one.

He was an encouragement. He was a mentor. He was the standard by which we measured ourselves as cultural commentators.

I don't think we met until the early 1990s in Seoul, South Korea, of all places. Later, Richard, his lovely and gracious wife of 40 years, Cynthia, and I would get together occasionally when I found myself in Washington.

What a breath of fresh air he was for me! He had spell-binding stories of his travels and his work as a foreign correspondent. But it was his work in the cultural arena commenting on movies and entertainment and the absurdities of the industry that I most relished.

I was hardly alone as a fan among colleagues and prominent contemporaries.

As his obituary in WorldNetDaily said last week, former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said he was "without peer in 20th century social commentary and political insight." Tom Wolfe called him "full of dazzling surprises." Ben Stein
termed him "infuriating, provocative, hilarious, clear-minded, articulate."

I found him to be a naturally gifted commentator of unusual insight and wit. But that is an understatement. Words fail me in describing Richard Grenier. He was just a lot of fun to be around the ideal dinner companion.

I'll never forget one night. I found myself up on the dais of a very solemn and serious affair in front of thousands of people surrounded by heads of state and dignitaries from around the world. I can't tell you any more details about the
event itself without causing undue embarrassment to his survivors and other innocent parties.

I was trying to maintain my own personal dignity amid all this prestige. Then I looked out into the audience and saw Richard making funny faces at me.

That was Richard. I was afraid I would not be able to stop laughing.

Well, Richard Grenier is gone. He died quietly last week apparently of heart failure. At 68, he had been recuperating from some nagging health problems.

Why was he so unusual? Check out his background. It explains a great deal.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Richard Grenier was a Bostonian. He served in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, did graduate work at Harvard, studied at the Institut des Sciences Politiques in Paris and had careers as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, as a movie screenwriter, as a novelist and as cultural correspondent for The New York Times.

He spent much of his life in London, Madrid and Paris and lived and wrote from his home in Washington during the last decade and a half of his life. His columns appeared regularly for years in the Washington Times and, more recently, in WorldNetDaily.

Richard was an author. He was a fine public speaker. He was a good husband to Cynthia. And he was a wonderful friend to all who knew him.

But, most of all, Richard was a classy writer who never took the pop culture too seriously, even while commenting on it full time.

He will be missed. I know how much I do. But America will miss this keen analyst more than it knows.

Joseph Farrah is editor and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily.com and writes a daily column.

Arlington National Cemetery: Section 6X, Row 7, Site 1


According to former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, he was "without peer in 20th century social commentary and political insight."

Tom Wolfe called him "full of dazzling surprises."

Ben Stein termed him "infuriating, provocative, hilarious, clear-minded, articulate."

To a WorldNetDaily editor who worked with him, he was "a gifted commentator of unusual insight and wit."

Richard Grenier died quietly Wednesday evening, apparently of heart failure. The 68-year-old was recuperating from some nagging health problems, Cynthia Grenier, his wife of more than 40 years, reported.

"It was a wonderful life," she told WorldNetDaily, choking back tears.

"He was not just a great writer," said Ken Hanner, national editor of the Washington Times, "he was an extraordinarily colorful person. He was really plugged into the Washington scene and knew everyone. He always had great stories to tell."

Robert Morton, editor of WorldTribune.com and former corporate editor of the Washington Times, remarked, "Richard never lost the burning curiosity and youthful exuberance of a cub reporter. But he was also that rarity among modern 'journalists' a true intellectual."

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Grenier hailed from Boston. He served in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, did graduate work at Harvard, studied at the Institut des Sciences Politiques in Paris and had careers as a foreign
correspondent for the Financial Times, as a movie screenwriter, as a novelist and as cultural correspondent for The New York Times.

He spent much of his life in London, Madrid and Paris and lived and wrote from his home in Washington during the last decade and a half of his life. His columns appeared regularly for years in the Washington Times and, more recently, in WorldNetDaily.

"Richard Grenier's natural curiosity was like a beacon guiding him throughout a distinguished writing career," said Mary Lou Forbes, editor of the Washington Times Commentary pages. "Unfolding world events came into clearer focus
through the insightful and challenging columns he produced for the Commentary pages."

"The Marrakesh One-Two" was his most recent novel, and "Capturing the Culture Film, Art and Politics" was his latest collection of essays.

His wife, Cynthia, also wrote a column for WorldNetDaily and briefly served as commentary editor.

Details about the funeral at Arlington National Cemetery are pending.


From contemporary press reports:

Richard Grenier, 68, a columnist who wrote about foreign affairs, national politics and culture for the Washington Times from 1985 until 1999, died of a heart attack January 29, 2002,  at his Washington home while watching President Bush's State of the Union address.

Mr. Grenier had been a film critic for Commentary magazine, for which he continued to write columns, and his columns were published by WorldNetDaily.com, an Internet news site. He wrote two novels, "Yes and Back Again" and "The Marrakesh One-Two," and a collection of essays, "Capturing the Culture."

Earlier in his career, he was a reporter based in Paris for Agence France-Presse, the Financial Times of London and Group W Broadcasting. He reported from Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and the Caribbean. He also covered annual film festivals and had a bit part as a sailor in the 1965 Jean-Luc Godard film "Pierrot Le Fou."

Mr. Grenier was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and raised in Brookline, Mass. He attended Harvard University and received an engineering degree from the U.S. Naval Academy. He served briefly in the Navy in the 1950s, resumed studies at Harvard in comparative literature and then was a Fulbright scholar in Paris at the Institute for Political Studies.

After returning from Europe to live in New York, Mr. Grenier was a broadcaster on cultural issues for PBS and worked for about a year as a cultural correspondent for the New York Times. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Harvard Club.

Survivors include his wife, Cynthia Grenier of Washington; a brother; and a sister.


Funeral for a friend Funeral services for Richard Grenier, a columnist for The Washington Times, will be held Friday, March 1, at 9 a.m. at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer. Inurnment will follow at Arlington National Cemetery. Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat, will deliver the eulogy. Mr. Moynihan and Mr. Grenier had been friends for 55 years.

His widow, Cynthia, tells us she's received an "enormous" number of letters, telephone calls and e-mails since the death of her husband, at the age of 68, two weeks ago. "People are turning up from all over the place, and their affection and support is helping me a tremendous amount," says Mrs. Grenier.


GRENIER, RICHARD

On January 29, 2002, of Washington, DC. Beloved husband of Cynthia Grenier; brother of Robert Grenier of Florida and Barbara Applebaum of Massachusetts. Also survived by several nieces and nephews. Services will be held at the Fort Myer Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia, on Friday, March 1 at 9 a.m. Inurnment to follow at Arlington National Cemetery. Eulogy to be given by Senator D. Patrick Moynihan. Arrangements by JOSEPH GAWLER'S SONS.


GRENIER, RICHARD
ENS   US NAVY
DATE OF BIRTH: 12/30/1923
DATE OF DEATH: 01/29/2002
BURIED AT: SECTION 6-X  ROW 7  SITE 1
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Posted: 16 February 2002 Updated: 14 June 2003 Updated: 7 January 2007
US Naval Academy SEAL