Obituaries

Ted Morgan, 91, Dies; Pulitzer-Winning Writer Straddled Two Cultures

Ted Morgan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and prolific author of acclaimed nonfiction books who renounced his noble French title in favor of a conventional all-American name, died on Wednesday in a nursing home in Manhattan. He was 91.

The cause was complications of dementia, his daughter, Amber de Gramont, said.

As he straddled two cultures, Mr. Morgan experienced enough adventures for two lifetimes, including a half-dozen wars, near death from thirst while crossing the Sahara, and waterfront saloon brawls. Many of these ordeals found their way into his journalism and a score of books, as did more intellectually exciting episodes.

Whether writing under his aristocratic French name, Sanche de Gramont, or his adopted American one — “Ted Morgan” is an anagram of “de Gramont” — Mr. Morgan covered topics as varied as opera, advertising, the police, Nazi war criminals, laid-back California living, the legal aspects of pornography, and politics, both in the United States and abroad.

As he demonstrated in biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, Mr. Morgan did not hesitate to tackle subjects that had already been plumbed by authors with more scholarly credentials. But few writers could assemble dry facts and telling details with more gusto and brio.

“A life so full could easily have meandered into tedium,” one reviewer wrote of Mr. Morgan’s Winston Churchill biography, “and this almost never happens in Mr. Morgan’s treatment.”Credit…Touchstone

Recounting the oft-told story of young Churchill’s bold flight from a prison camp during the Boer War for his book “Churchill: Young Man in a Hurry 1874-1915,” published in 1982, Mr. Morgan pointed out that the escape plan was devised by two of Churchill’s fellow prisoners, whom he left behind.

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