Editorial

Glenn O’Brien

When I found out that Glenn O’Brien died today, my heart sank and I just stopped. I admired him more than I can say. He profoundly influenced my approach to life, style and creativity in ways immeasurable.

Like many other men my age, I became aware of him as “The Style Guy” in GQ. His take on style and the inimitable wit with which he expressed it were totally original. And his 2011 book How to Be a Man is an indispensable and very funny guide on being a discerning adult male in our culture that should be required reading for all high school seniors – and for all men, for that matter.

I never met Glenn, but I sure wish I had. He was a fellow native of Cleveland (Lakewood) and fellow alumnus of St. Ignatius High School, two subjects about which we shared a couple of fun exchanges on Twitter in the last couple of years. His style, his humor, his life experience, his pursuit of beauty and his unyielding intellectual curiosity will remain standards to which I will always aspire. I’m so grateful that our lifetimes overlapped so that I could experience his living example of what was possible for the creatively engaged adult male.

Glenn O’Brien, 2010, by Peter Ross.
This video from Paradigm Magazine is a terrific representation of how I will always think of him.

Read Glenn’s obituary in The New York Times.

Read about the greatest hits from Glenn O’Brien’s closet.

6 Comments

  1. How did I miss this cool guy all these years!? Sorry for the loss George – and for all of us. I have already placed
    holds on several of his books. Take care.

  2. Christopher R Fortunato Reply

    He must have been a square peg in a round whole at St. Ignatius back in the day. A contemporary of Don Nugent or others that played football, went into the Marines, then became lawyers and/or judges. That’s what St. Ignatius seems to represent a lot.

  3. Michael Snook Reply

    His Style Guide in GQ was always my favorite part of every issue. When he stopped doing them they were never the same. I truly think my intrest with you George was an extension of my love of his articals and his style advice. I was not aware of a book (or I forgot before picking up a copy) but I’ll for sure read asap! Thank you George!

  4. I had the pleasure of hearing Glenn O’Brien talk at an event about the writings of Rene Ricard at Mast Books last June. When I heard he died earlier this week, I had a feeling you’d write something about him, since your elegant and forthright style reminds me so much of his sensibility. Thanks for this tribute and links to the videos which were new to me.

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