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Eric O'Keefe

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Eric O'Keefe
Born (1961-03-11) March 11, 1961 (age 63)
Paris, France
OccupationAuthor, Journalist, Editor
Alma materRice University

Eric O'Keefe (born March 11, 1961) is an American author, editor, and journalist based in Texas. His most recent book is the Palm Beach polo murder mystery The Perfect 10.[1] He authored the book The Cup and co-wrote the screenplay for the Village Roadshow feature film The Cup.[2] O'Keefe has served as the editor-in-chief of The Land Report since its founding in 2007. In January 2021, The Land Report published O’Keefe’s investigative report on the extensive farmland holdings of Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates. His cover story revealed Gates to be the largest private farmland owner in the United States with 242,000 acres in 16 states in 2020.[3][4]


The Perfect 10 (2020) is O'Keefe's most recent book and his first work of fiction.[5] The Palm Beach murder mystery follows West Point graduate Rick Hunt, a White House Fellow assigned to the Chief of Staff, as he investigates the killing of the world’s greatest polo player, Juancito Harrington. Hunt’s investigation culminates during play in the final of the U.S. Open Polo Championship in Wellington, Florida.

O'Keefe's The Cup (2009) is the story of Damien Oliver's dramatic victory on Media Puzzle in the world's richest and most prestigious two-mile handicap, the Melbourne Cup. The week before the race, Damien's only brother, Jason, died following a track accident in Perth while riding an unraced horse at Ascot Racecourse. The tragedy bore a haunting similarity to the death of their father, Ray Oliver, who died in 1975 after a racing fall in the Boulder Cup in Kalgoorlie. Damien's decision to honor his brother by returning and competing in Australia's greatest race culminated in Media Puzzle's emotion-charged victory, which has been rated one of the memorable moments in Australian sports history.[6] O'Keefe traveled to Australia, Dubai, and Ireland to research The Cup, which was published in Australia by Slattery Media and launched in the Committee Room at Flemington Racecourse on August 4, 2009.[7]

The Cup was made into the feature film The Cup based on a script by O'Keefe and Australian director Simon Wincer.[8] Filmed in Melbourne in 2010 and released in Australia in 2011, the movie was directed by Wincer with Stephen Curry cast as Damien Oliver, Daniel MacPherson as Jason Oliver, Brendan Gleeson as Dermot Weld, and Tom Burlinson as Dave Phillips.

O’Keefe collaborated with T. Boone Pickens to write the Texas oilman’s memoir, The First Billion is the Hardest[9] (2008). O'Keefe has written numerous guidebooks, including the Texas Monthly Guidebook to West Texas and the Big Bend (1995), the Texas Monthly Guidebook to El Paso (1996), and the Lone Star Guide to Big Bend and West Texas (1999). He was a contributing author to the Texas Monthly Guidebook to Texas (1998) and the Lone Star Guide to Texas (1999). He authored The Art of Chuck DeHaan (2005) with photography by Gustav Schmiege.


In 2006, O'Keefe co-founded The Land Report with Eddie Lee Rider Jr. Known as the Magazine of the American Landowner, the quarterly magazine[10] and website focus on topics of interest to landowners and those who invest in land. The magazine is best known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, the Land Report 100.[11] In his capacity as editor, O'Keefe is regularly called upon to comment on topics pertaining to land and landowners and has been featured in The Washington Post,[12] The Wall Street Journal,[13] and The New York Times.[14]

O'Keefe, who is a registered broker with the Texas Real Estate Commission, serves as the magazine's editor and Rider its publisher. Prior to The Land Report, O'Keefe was lead editor at Cowboys & Indians and Chile Pepper.

In his editorial capacities at The Land Report, O'Keefe has interviewed landowners such as Clint Eastwood, Tom Brokaw, Nolan Ryan, T. Boone Pickens, and Ted Turner. His in-depth profile of Red Emmerson detailed Emmerson's rise from independent sawmill operator in 1949 to America's largest private landowner[15] with 2.33 million acres of timberland in California, Oregon, and Washington.


As master of ceremonies at the 2021 Land Investment Expo in Des Moines, O’Keefe interviewed former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad about his tenure as the longest-serving governor in American history as well as his service as United States Ambassador to China from 2017 to 2020.[16] Also at the 2021 Land Expo, O’Keefe interviewed Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation in the United States Department of Agriculture from 2018 to 2021.[17] At the 2022 Land Investment Expo, he interviewed Equity Group Investments chairman Sam Zell.

Since 1996, O'Keefe has freelanced for The New York Times on a wide variety of subjects, including Carl Icahn,[18] the NFL,[19] and Willie Nelson.[20] In 1997, O'Keefe was one of the first journalists to report on the shooting death of 18-year-old Esequiel Hernandez Jr. by Cpl. Clemente Banuelos, a U.S. Marine on a drug interdiction training mission near Redford, Texas. The high school student was the first U.S. civilian killed by active duty military personnel since the Kent State shootings in 1970. O'Keefe also reported for The Times on the 1998 settlement by the Department of the Navy and the Justice Department with the Hernandez family. The shooting subsequently inspired The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), a movie directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones.

Huffington Post,[21] Western Horseman,[22] Cigar Aficionado,[23] and D Magazine[24] are some of the other media to feature O'Keefe's writings, including profiles and interviews of actors, entertainers, authors, business leaders, and political figures such as Hank Aaron, Norman Brinker, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Julia Child, Russell Crowe, Billy Crystal, Brian Dennehy, Robert Duvall, Dean Fearing, Kinky Friedman, Memo Gracida, Tommy Lee Jones, Jay Leno, Reba McEntire, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Bernadette Peters, Ann Richards, Tom Selleck, Sam Shepard, and Sam Zell.


  1. ^ "Eric O'Keefe :: Author, Editor, Journalist :: The Perfect 10". Archived from the original on 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  2. ^ "Eric O'Keefe :: Author, Editor, Journalist :: The Cup".
  3. ^ "Bill Gates: America's Top Farmland Owner | the Land Report". 11 January 2021.
  4. ^ Evans, Judith (29 March 2021). "Bill Gates' farmland buying spree highlights investment appeal". Financial Times.
  5. ^ O'Keefe, Eric (8 December 2020). The Perfect 10: A Palm Beach Murder Mystery. River Grove Books. ISBN 978-1632993588.
  6. ^ "Damien Oliver's tribute to his brother on winning the 2002 Melbourne Cup on Media Puzzle". Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  7. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: The Cup - Book Launch at Flemington. YouTube.
  8. ^ "The Cup (2011) - IMDb". IMDb.
  9. ^ "The First Billion Is the Hardest by T. Boone Pickens: 9780307396013 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books".
  10. ^ Hottest Launches minonline.com Archived 2007-12-12 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "The Land Report - Fall 2010". Archived from the original on 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
  12. ^ "American land barons: 100 wealthy families now own nearly as much land as that of New England". The Washington Post. 2017-12-21. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  13. ^ Keates, Nancy (23 October 2014). "Billionaire Businessmen Buying up Mega-Ranches". Wall Street Journal.
  14. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (29 January 2011). "For Land Barons, Acres by the Millions". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "Red Emmerson Becomes America's Largest Landowner | the Land Report". 15 February 2022.
  16. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: Terry Branstad Interview. YouTube.
  17. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: Bill Northey Interview. YouTube.
  18. ^ O'Keefe, Eric (12 May 2005). "Icahn Slate Wins Seats on Blockbuster Board". The New York Times.
  19. ^ O'Keefe, Eric (27 May 2005). "Roy Williams Will Play by Rules, Including His Own". The New York Times.
  20. ^ "On the Road Again, Where Biodiesel Is a Rising Star". The New York Times. 2006-07-05. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  21. ^ "American Thoroughbred Racing Needs a Lifeline, and the Answer Can be Found in Australia". HuffPost. 18 March 2010.
  22. ^ "Western Horseman Magazine - Marketing the King Ranch Brand". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  23. ^ Cigar Aficionado Archives Archived 2009-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Tommy Lee Gets Serious - D Magazine". D Magazine. January 9, 2005. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.

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