Born in Lake Forest, Illinois, VerMeulen was a journalist and editor, who came into contact during his late adolescence with playwright David Mamet and the circle of actors surrounding him in Chicago at that time. He contributed regularly to a number of magazines including Vanity Fair and Parade before leaving for London where he worked initially for a financial publication, before joining British GQ in 1988 as its founding features editor.
In the same year he became engaged to an Australian author named Antonella Gambotto-Burke, who left him because of his drug addiction. VerMeulen was promoted within GQ to deputy editor in 1990 and to editor in 1992.
VerMeulen died of a drug overdose on Sunday, 28 August 1995, in his home in Islington, London. A coroner's inquest found over two and a half times the lethal dose of cocaine in his system. An account of his death written by Gambotto-Burke in the book entitled The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide claimed that his death was an indirect suicide. In the book, she writes of how he had often discussed suicide.
His funeral was held at St. George's, Hanover Square, London. David Mamet sent a special eulogy that was read during the service. Over 400 people, including editors and writers, were in attendance.
- The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, p30.
- "From Boys to Men", by Michael Wolff, New York Magazine.
- The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, p34.
- New York Times obituary
- Making sense of men's magazines By Peter Jackson, Nick Stevenson, Kate Brooks. John Wiley & Sons. p. 54
- "Editor died from cocaine overdose", The Independent, November 8, 1995.
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