Ted Morgan (writer)

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Ted Morgan
Born Comte St. Charles Armand Gabriel de Gramont
(1932-03-30) March 30, 1932 (age 82)
Geneva, Switzerland
Occupation Journalist, biographer, historian
Alma mater Yale University
Notable award(s) Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting

Ted Morgan (born March 30, 1932) is a French-American biographer, journalist, and historian.

Life[edit]

Morgan was born Comte St. Charles Armand Gabriel de Gramont in Geneva.

He is the son of Gabriel Antoine Armand, Comte de Gramont (1908–1943), a pilot in the French escadrille in England during World War II. Gramont is an old French noble family.

After his father's death in a training flight, Morgan began to lead two parallel lives. He attended Yale University (where he was a member of Manuscript Society) and worked as a reporter. But he was still a member (albeit a reluctant one) of the French nobility. He was drafted into the French Army where he served for two years from 1955 to 1957, during the Algerian War, initially as a second lieutenant with a Senegalese regiment of Colonial Infantry and then as a propaganda officer. He subsequently wrote in frank detail of his brutalizing experiences while on active service in the bled (Algerian countryside) and of the atrocities committed by both sides during the Battle of Algiers.[1]

Following his military service, Morgan returned to the United States and won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting in 1961 for what was described as "his moving account of the death of Leonard Warren on the Metropolitan Opera stage."[2] At the time, Morgan was still a French citizen writing under the name of "Sanche de Gramont".

In the 1970s, Morgan stopped using the byline "Sanche de Gramont". He became an American citizen in 1977, renouncing his titles of nobility. The name he adopted as a U.S. citizen, "Ted Morgan", is an anagram of "de Gramont". The new name was a conscious attempt to discard his aristocratic French past. He had settled on a "name that conformed with the language and cultural norms of American society, a name that telephone operators and desk clerks could hear without flinching" (On Becoming American, 1978). Morgan was featured in the CBS news program 60 Minutes in 1978. The segment explored Morgan's reasons for embracing American culture and showed him eating dinner with his family in a fast food restaurant.

Morgan has written much-admired biographies of Winston Churchill (a Pulitzer Prize for Biography finalist in 1983[3]), William S. Burroughs, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His 1980 biography of W. Somerset Maugham was a 1982 National Book Award finalist in its first paperback edition.[4][a] He has also written for newspapers and magazines.

Selected books[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Walter Lippman and the American Century by Ronald Steel won the 1982 National Book Award for paperback "Autobiography/Biography".
    From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual hardcover and paperback awards in most categories, and several nonfiction subcategories including General Nonfiction. Like most of the paperback-award winning books, Walter Lippman and Maugham were reissues.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ted Morgan, My Battle of Algiers. ISBN 0-06-085224-0.
  2. ^ "Local Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  3. ^ "Biography or Autobiography". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  4. ^ "National Book Awards – 1982". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2013-11-02.

External links[edit]