Who is Prince Harry’s ghostwriter?  The man behind Spare

Who is Prince Harry’s ghostwriter? The man behind Spare

Who is Prince Harry’s ghostwriter?  The man behind Spare

Jhe two boys grew up 20 years and nearly 3,500 miles apart, both navigating parental dysfunction, both wading to find their place in very different worlds. One was a prince; one was much closer to the poor end of the spectrum. They would be fathers themselves when their professional paths crossed.

When it happened, however unlikely, the association of ghostwriter JR Moehringer with the Duke of Sussex would lead to one of the most explosive memories in living memory. Prince Harry controversially bares his soul in the reveal Sparebut it was Mr. Moehringer who put the royal’s story to paper.

The New York native was perfectly placed to do so; not only does he have a Pulitzer Prize for writing feature films, but he also published a deeply personal autobiography, The tender bar, from his own family 18 years earlier. Mr Moehringer is rumored to have been introduced to Prince Harry by George Clooney, who helped turn the ghostwriter’s memoir into a 2021 film of the same name starring Ben Affleck.

Prince Harry may have grown up in a palace while Mr Moehringer grew up in a ‘flophouse’, as he calls his overcrowded grandparents’ home in his 2005 memoir, but family trauma, the desire to affection and the mother-son bond in the two men are closely mirrored.

Mr Moehringer, 58, grew up in Manhasset on Long Island, the son of a former flight attendant and her abusive New York radio DJ husband, Jonny Michaels, real name John Joseph Moehringer. Months after giving birth to her namesake – nicknamed JR – she left him after threatening to carve her face with a razor, the memoirist writes, so her father “retaliated by disappearing and refusing all help”.

The author and his mother, Dorothy, lived alternately with his parents – with his two adult siblings, five nieces and a nephew, for a total of 12 people – and in several apartments on a shoestring budget. Mr Moehringer calls his absent father “The Voice” in his memoir, which recounts how a range of other male influences stepped in to help him learn to be a man, particularly his bartender uncle and the other unlikely role models in his life. job tavern. .

JR Moehringer attends the Los Angeles premiere of Amazon Studio’s “The Tender Bar” in December 2021

(Getty Pictures)

“My personal list of needs was long,” he wrote in The tender bar. “Only child abandoned by my father, I needed a family, a home and men. Especially men. I needed men as mentors, heroes, role models and as a kind of male counterbalance to my mother, my grandmother, my aunt and my five cousins ​​that I lived with. The bar provided me with all the men I needed, and one or two men who were the last thing I needed.

He often referred to his only male cousin in the house, McGraw, as his brother, and the two shared an obsessive love of the sport in the shadow of some of the biggest franchises in the world. They loved the Mets “because we felt like born losers,” Moehringer wrote in 2008.

“Although we were only in the first round of our lives, we had already lost four points, with a weak bullpen and no bench. Sons of single mothers, living off food stamps, attending mediocre schools, carrying ill-fitting clothes, we were faced with a future that seemed sure to include a heavy dose of failure, ignorance and desire.

Spare: Prince Harry’s memoir becomes best-selling non-fiction book of all time

McGraw pursued his love of sports professionally and became a news and sports radio host; he is currently a popular radio personality in St Louis. Mr. Moehringer, who inherited his love of words from his eccentric grandfather and uncle, became a journalist, working first as a New York Times copyboy before moving in 1990 to the old Rocky Mountain News in Colorado, where “the newspapers still gave off a faint whiff of the frontier,” he wrote in 2008. Venus. That’s why I fit in perfectly. Not that I could articulate it at the time. I couldn’t articulate much at the time.

However, he quickly honed his craft, spending four years later at the Los Angeles Timeswhere his work made him a Pulitzer finalist in 1998 before winning the top prize in 2000 for his feature film Crossing Over, about the descendants of slaves in Georgia.

His first major foray into writing about his own family was in 2001, after one of his Long Island cousins, Timothy Gerard Byrne, was killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. Manhasset, a suburban town, has been hit hard with the lives lost.

He returned to Long Island to write Mr. Byrne’s obituary for the Los Angeles Time, recounting a wedding speech his cousin had given that, after 9/11, struck the family as particularly prophetic and healing. The Byrnes and the rest of Moehringer’s relatives made another literary appearance in 2005 when he published The tender bar — and it wasn’t long before a man so fascinated by Moehringer’s story about a fatherless child called him up and asked him to write his own story.

This man was Andre Agassi.

“I wanted to see my life through the prism of [a] Pulitzer Prize winner,” said the tennis legend The New York Times in 2009, adding that he sometimes felt like he and his ghostwriter were like “brothers from a different mother”.

Mr. Moehringer finally agreed and embarked on the entire project. He moved to Las Vegas to immerse himself in the life and memories of Mr. Agassi, studying Freud, Jung, and other psychoanalytic work in an effort to better understand the inner workings of his subject’s mind.

“Our first talks were painful,” Mr. Moehringer told the Times. “He was completely locked down – stilted, resistant, hesitant. His memory was crystal clear on matches but not on relationships. He had drawn no conclusions about them and could not make any connections.

The ghostwriter has teased incredibly sensitive confessions – such as the tennis player’s crystal meth use – and weaved the life of Mr Agassi into a tale that effortlessly explores his life, career and, most importantly, his relationship with his father.

Andre Agassi asked Mr Moehringer to write his memoir – which reveals deeply personal details of the tennis player’s relationship with his father as well as bombshells such as the athlete’s crystal meth use.

(PA Archive)

Mr. Moehringer told NPR that his experience writing Mr. Agassi’s memoir taught him that “all the research in the world doesn’t get you very far – that when you start telling the story, there’s all those things you really don’t know.

“And I had the wonderful benefit of being able to call him, sit with him, whenever I came to something and didn’t know what it looked like or smelled like. So it was like writing a novel about an imaginary character, but then being able to call out that character and say, ‘How was that? We forgot to talk about that. Tell me what that person said.

He said the trick to writing a memoir in a ghost was “to try to inhabit their skin, and even though you’re thinking in third person, you’re writing in first person” using the opposite but “simpatico” technique. which he uses for his own autobiography.

By the time the book was finished, the collaboration had been so intense that Mr. Agassi tried to convince Mr. Moehringer that his name should also be on the book. He refused.

“These are André’s memoirs, not our memoirs, not ‘as they say’ memoirs,” he told the Times when Open has been freed. “It’s his accomplishment, and he made the final choices.”

Mr Moehringer continued to pursue other projects and write other memoirs, but landing the contract to work with Prince Harry – reportedly for over a million dollars – launched him into another level of fame. .

A few months before the film adaptation of Monsieur MoehringerThe tender bar was released in 2021, Prince Harry has announced that he has teamed up with Penguin Random House for an upcoming memoir written “not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become”.

While the Royal Family appear to be freaking out over Prince Harry’s book, Mr Moehringer’s family have only been publicly gracious about it. The tender bar in book and film form.

“We are a big, loud, opinionated, love-filled family, and we have vivid and wonderful memories of the people who helped lift us up,” his cousin McGraw Milhaven, co-host of The Big 550 KTRS, wrote to St Louis. in 2021. “But, when someone reads the book, or now sees the movie, and wants to ask a question or talk about my family, instead of being angry because they didn’t quite understand, I love this. I can talk about people I loved.

(Getty Pictures)

He continued, “There is a truth about storytelling. The storyteller tells the story. When our family comes together, I’m sure it’s similar to how you connect with your family. We discuss and debate what happened, how it happened, why it happened. We never come to a resolution and we almost never agree. But no matter how much we argue, I often feel like the room is overflowing with pure love.

That’s not exactly the feeling everyone has about how Prince Charles and the wider royal clan are reacting to Spare. Even Mr. Milhaven, on the day of its release, was less keen on talking about his Negro cousin, citing the media frenzy surrounding the book’s publication.

“We’re thrilled for JR, and he’s a great writer,” was all he felt comfortable sharing with The Independent.

Mr. Moehringer now lives in the Bay Area with his wife, editor Shannon Welch, and their two children; her beloved mother, Dorothy, died in August 2019 – 22 years and five days after Princess Diana’s death. He tweeted a passage from his memoir in tribute to her for his followers, who – until January 10, the publication date of Spare – numbered only a few thousand. However, that number grew, and the ghostwriter regularly retweeted his explosive mentions on the site.

He has not commented publicly Spare throughout Prince Harry’s blitz of media blitz, but revelations within the book’s pages – in addition to the royal’s own comments in interviews – suggest Mr Moehringer applied the same style of psychoanalytic interviewing he used to relax Mr. Agassi.

The Prince and the Pauper was one of Mr. Moehringer’s favorite books as a child, he writes in a new afterword for his own memoir. It’s hard to imagine that, starving for fatherly affection in his tumultuous childhood home, he could have guessed that the title would one day, strangely, reflect a facet of his own life – and that his own relationship with a prince would have could make him a legend.

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