J. R. Moehringer

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J. R. Moehringer
BornJohn Joseph Moehringer
(1964-12-07) December 7, 1964 (age 58)
New York City, U.S.
OccupationNovelist, journalist
Alma materYale University
SpouseShannon Welch

John Joseph Moehringer (born December 7, 1964), known by his pen name J. R. Moehringer, is an American novelist, journalist, and ghostwriter. In 2000, he won the Pulitzer Prize for newspaper feature writing.[1]

He collaborated on the 2021 film adaptation of his memoir The Tender Bar (2005).

Early life and education[edit]

Moehringer was born to Dorothy and "Johnny Michaels" (John Moehringer), a WOR-FM radio DJ,[2][3][4][5] in New York City and raised by a single mother in Manhasset, New York and Scottsdale, Arizona. He graduated from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale in 1982 and "graduated by a hair's breadth"[6] from Yale University in 1986. His mother died in 2020.[7]


He began his journalism career as a news assistant at The New York Times. In 1990 he moved to Breckenridge, Colorado where he worked at the Rocky Mountain News. In 1994 he became a reporter for the Orange County bureau of the Los Angeles Times.

In 1997, the Los Angeles Times sent him to Atlanta, Georgia, to report on the South as an on-the-scene reporter.[8] His journalism work later took him to Denver, Colorado.

While at the Los Angeles Times he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing in 1998[9] for his article "Resurrecting the Champ,"[10][11] and received the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing in 2000[1] for his article "Crossing Over."[12][13]

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Shannon Welch, former executive editor at HarperOne and VP and editorial director at Penguin Random House since 2021.[14] They have two children.

Moehringer's memoir, The Tender Bar, was published in 2005. It recounts his childhood through his early twenties, and tells of his coming-of-age experiences at a local bar called Publicans (previously known as Dickens, later Edison's[15][16][17]), which served as a sanctuary from his chaotic family life. A movie version of the memoir, The Tender Bar, directed by George Clooney and starring Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan and Daniel Ranieri, was released on Amazon Prime on January 7, 2022. After retired tennis star Andre Agassi read The Tender Bar, he asked Moehringer to collaborate with him on his own memoir.[18] The resulting book, Open: An Autobiography, was published in 2009.[19]

Moehringer wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times Magazine about a homeless man who claimed he was Bob Satterfield.[10] In 2007, it was adapted as the basis of the film Resurrecting the Champ, directed by Rod Lurie and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett and Alan Alda.

Moehringer's novel Sutton, based on the life of bank robber Willie Sutton, was published in 2012.

Moehringer ghostwrote Phil Knight's memoir, Shoe Dog, published in 2016,[20] and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex's 2023 memoir, Spare.[21] After working on Spare, Moehringer says that he was stalked and harassed by the press and paparazzi after his name was leaked to the press ahead of the release.[22]



  1. ^ a b c JR Moehringer biography - Pulitzer Board
  2. ^ Fresh Air. "For author J.R. Moehringer, 'The Tender Bar' was a chance to revisit childhood". NPR.org. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Memories of 'The Tender Bar'". NPR.org. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  4. ^ "The Individual Good Guys". music radio 77. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  5. ^ "Rock Radio Heaven: M". rockradioscrapbook.ca. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  6. ^ Smith, Dinitia (6 September 2005). "Reared in a Pub, by Hector, Ajax and Achilles". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  7. ^ Moehringer, J. R. (8 May 2023). "Notes from Prince Harry's Ghostwriter". The New Yorker. Retrieved 13 May 2023.
  8. ^ Susan King (2007-08-20). "Boxer's tale lands back in the ring". Los Angeles Times.com. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  9. ^ "Pulitzer Prize winners - 1998". www.pulitzer.org. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  10. ^ a b J.R. Moehringer (1997-05-04). "RESURRECTING THE CHAMP". Los Angeles Times.com. Archived from the original on 1 May 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  11. ^ ""Why's this so good?" No. 26: Moehringer KO's a mystery". Nieman Storyboard. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  12. ^ "J R Moehringer Crossing Over | Crossing Over - Los Angeles Times". web.archive.org. 2012-03-08. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2022-03-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ "Crossing Over". Nieman Foundation. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  14. ^ "People Round-Up, Early August 2021". Publishing Trends. August 4, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  15. ^ "Publicans · 550 Plandome Rd, Manhasset, NY 11030". Publicans · 550 Plandome Rd, Manhasset, NY 11030. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  16. ^ "Home". Publicans. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  17. ^ "A Tender Evening in JR Moehringer's "The Tender Bar" | Literary Traveler". 2014-11-03. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  18. ^ "Ghostwriter von Andre Agassi - Business And Science" (in German). Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  19. ^ McGrath, Charles (2009-11-12). "A Team, but Watch How You Put It". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  20. ^ "On Phil Knight, 'Shoe Dog,' Nike, Boris Berian and U.S. track & field: Oregon track & field rundown". OregonLive.com. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  21. ^ Bryant, Miranda (7 January 2023). "In his own write: Prince Harry's ghostwriter is so famous that George Clooney made a film of his life". The Observer. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  22. ^ Laura, Gozzi (2023-05-09). "Prince Harry's ghostwriter recounts frenzy around memoir". BBC News. Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  23. ^ "Featured Fellow: J.R. Moehringer". Nieman Storyboard. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  24. ^ "Class of 2001". Nieman Foundation. Retrieved 2022-03-28.


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