Richard Ben Cramer

Richard Ben Cramer (June 12, 1950 – January 7, 2013) was an American journalist and writer.

Richard Ben Cramer
Richard Ben Cramer
BornJune 12, 1950
Rochester, New York
DiedJanuary 7, 2013 (aged 62)
Baltimore, Maryland
OccupationJournalist, writer
ResidenceChestertown, Maryland
Alma materJohns Hopkins University,
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
GenresPolitics, biography
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize for International Reporting (1979)


Cramer was born and raised in Rochester, New York, the son of Brud and Blossom Cramer.[1] He graduated from Brighton High School in 1967. He wrote for Trapezoid, the school's student newspaper, after he was cut from the baseball team.[2] He earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts in 1971 from Johns Hopkins University where he was also a writer and editor for The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. Unable to land a job at The Baltimore Sun, he instead attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where he received a master's degree one year later in 1972.[3]

External video
Booknotes interview with Cramer on What It Takes, July 26, 1992, C-SPAN
Presentation by Cramer on How Israel Lost, June 24, 2004, C-SPAN

Cramer worked as a journalist at several well-known publications, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, Esquire Magazine, and Rolling Stone. He won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1979 for his coverage of the Middle East and was a finalist for the same Prize in 1981.[4] His work as a political reporter culminated in What It Takes: The Way to the White House, an account of the 1988 presidential election that is considered one of the seminal journalistic studies of presidential electoral politics. His book, Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life was a New York Times bestseller in 2000. He was an avid New York Yankees fan and lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.[4] His final published book was How Israel Lost: The Four Questions, about the ways in which the Israeli occupation has corrupted the country's original vision.

Cramer wrote and narrated several well-known documentary films, often in collaboration with filmmaker Thomas Lennon: The Choice '92 (PBS Frontline, 1992), Tabloid Truth (PBS Frontline, 1994) and The Battle Over Citizen Kane (PBS The American Experience, 1995), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award. He co-wrote and narrated a film about Joe DiMaggio, The Hero's Life, produced by long-time collaborator Mark Zwonitzer, based on Cramer's book. He contributed to the scripts of two PBS series, The Irish in America: Long Journey Home (1998), and The Supreme Court (2007.)

Richard Ben Cramer died at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore of complications from lung cancer on January 7, 2013 at age 62. Cramer lived in Chestertown, Maryland, with his second wife, Joan. Besides his wife he is survived by a daughter, Ruby, from his first marriage to Carolyn White.[5]


  • Ted Williams: The Seasons of the Kid (1991)
  • What It Takes: The Way to the White House (1992)
  • Bob Dole (1994)
  • Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life (2000)
  • What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now? A Remembrance (2002)
  • How Israel Lost: The Four Questions (2004)


  1. ^ Cramer, Richard Ben (2000). Joe DiMaggio:The Hero's Life. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. p. Dedication. ISBN 0-684-85391-4.
  2. ^ "Richard Ben Cramer, award-winning journalist and Brighton native, dies," The Associated Press, Tuesday, January 8, 2013.
  3. ^ "Rasmussen, Frederick N. "Richard Ben Cramer, Pulitzer Prize winner, dies at 62," The Baltimore Sun, Wednesday, January 9, 2013". Archived from the original on February 6, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Richard Ben Cramer - Meet The Writers". Barnes and Noble. Archived from the original on April 8, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  5. ^ "Richard Cramer, Wrote of Presidential Race, Dies at 62". New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2013.

External links

1979 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1979.

Abner Zwillman

Abner "Longie" Zwillman (July 27, 1904 – February 27, 1959) was a Jewish American mob boss, mainly active during Prohibition, operating primarily in North Jersey.

Brighton High School (Rochester, New York)

Brighton High School, commonly abbreviated BHS, is a public high school located in the Brighton suburb of Rochester, New York, USA. It offers a comprehensive curriculum for students in grades 9–12. It is part of the Brighton Central School District.

Chestertown, Maryland

Chestertown is a town in Kent County, Maryland, United States. The population was 5,252 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Kent County.


Cramer is an English surname and the Anglicized version of Dutch and Low German Kramer, or German Krämer (pronounced [ˈkʁɛːmɐ]). Both refer to the profession of traveling merchants in the Late Middle Ages. The meaning later changed to "merchants trading with different, rather small things".

David Hirshey

David Hirshey is an American book editor and a contributing editor at Esquire. The senior vice president and executive editor of HarperCollins from 1998-2016, he was previously an editor for the New Yorker. Among others, he has worked with authors including Richard Ben Cramer, Frederick Exley, Richard Ford, Norman Mailer and David Halberstam. Hirshey wrote the weekly soccer column "Kicking and Screaming" for from 2010-2017. In 2018, he became Writer-at-Large for the soccer magazine Eight by Eight.An expert on soccer, Hirshey co-wrote The ESPN World Cup Companion: Everything You Need To Know About The Planet’s Biggest Sports Event and appeared in the 2006 documentary Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos. He has written extensively on the sport for The New York Times, Deadspin, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

January 7

January 7 is the seventh day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 358 days remaining until the end of the year (359 in leap years).

Lee Meriwether

Lee Ann Meriwether (born May 27, 1935) is an American actress, former model, and the winner of the 1955 Miss America pageant. She is known for her role as Betty Jones, Buddy Ebsen's secretary and daughter-in-law in the long-running 1970s crime drama Barnaby Jones. The role earned her two Golden Globe Award nominations in 1975 and 1976, and an Emmy Award nomination in 1977, as well as for her portrayal of Catwoman, replacing Julie Newmar in the film version of Batman (1966), and for a co-starring role on the science fiction series The Time Tunnel. Meriwether had a recurring role as Ruth Martin on the daytime soap opera All My Children until the end of the series in September 2011.

List of Booknotes interviews first aired in 1992

Booknotes is an American television series on the C-SPAN network hosted by Brian Lamb, which originally aired from 1989 to 2004. The format of the show is a one-hour, one-on-one interview with a non-fiction author. The series was broadcast at 8 p.m. Eastern Time each Sunday night, and was the longest-running author interview program in U.S. broadcast history.

RKO 281

RKO 281 is a 1999 American historical drama film directed by Benjamin Ross and starring Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith, John Malkovich, Roy Scheider and Liam Cunningham. The film depicts the troubled production behind the 1941 film Citizen Kane. The film's title is a reference to the original production number of Citizen Kane.

Richard Kramer

Richard Kramer or Cramer may refer to:

Richard Kramer (judge) (born 1947), American superior court judge

Richard Kramer (writer) (born 1952), American screenwriter, novelist and television producer

Richard J. Kramer (born 1963), American businessman

Richard Cramer (1889–1960), actor

Richard Ben Cramer (1950–2013), American journalist and writer

The Battle Over Citizen Kane

The Battle Over Citizen Kane is a 1996 documentary film about the clash between newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and actor/writer/director Orson Welles over Welles's 1941 motion picture Citizen Kane, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.

The Battle Over Citizen Kane aired January 29, 1996, as an episode of the Public Broadcast System's The American Experience series. The documentary was narrated by Richard Ben Cramer, who co-wrote the program with Thomas Lennon.

The rights to The Battle Over Citizen Kane were acquired by Scott Free productions in 1997 and adapted into a screenplay for the 1999 HBO movie RKO 281, directed by Benjamin Ross. 281 was the number assigned by RKO studios to identify the production internally.

The Best American Sports Writing

The Best Sports Writing is a yearly anthology of magazine articles on the subject of sports published in the United States. It was started in 1991 as part of The Best American Series published by Houghton Mifflin. Articles are chosen using the same procedure with other titles in the Best American Series; the series editor chooses about 70-100 article candidates, from which the guest editor picks 25 or so for publication; many, but not all of the remaining runner-up articles listed in the appendix. The series has been edited since its inception by Glenn Stout.

Traditionally loaded with long-form feature writing and occasionally columns, the annual book is considered a must-read by many sports writers, though the reach of its influence is debatable. Authors who have appeared in the series five or more times in its 20-year history are: Gary Smith (12 times), Charles P. Pierce (eight times), Steve Friedman (10 times), S.L. Price (nine times), William Nack (seven times), Rick Reilly (seven times), Roger Angell (six times), Pat Jordan (six times), Linda Robertson (six times), Rick Telander (six times), Mark Kram Jr. (five times), Bill Plaschke (five times), Peter Richmond (five times), Paul Solotaroff (five times). It also includes award-winning writers whose genre is not exclusively sports-writing, such as Jeanne Marie Laskas whose 2008 piece "G-L-O-R-Y!" offered a rare look at professional cheerleaders.

The series culminated in 2000's Best American Sports Writing of the Century, which featured few works from the 1990s. The guest editor for that book was David Halberstam, who also was the guest editor for the first edition of the series, in 1991.

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble is a 1976 American made-for-television drama film inspired by the lives of David Vetter and Ted DeVita, who lacked effective immune systems. It stars John Travolta, Glynnis O'Connor, Diana Hyland, Robert Reed, Ralph Bellamy & P.J. Soles. It was written by Douglas Day Stewart, executive produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg (who, at the time, produced Starsky and Hutch and Charlie's Angels), and directed by Randal Kleiser, who would work with Travolta again in Grease shortly after. The original music score was composed by Mark Snow. The theme song "What Would They Say" was written and sung by Paul Williams. William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills was used for filming.The movie first aired on November 12, 1976, on the ABC television network.

The Johns Hopkins News-Letter

The Johns Hopkins News-Letter is the independent student newspaper of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. Published since 1896, it is one of the nation's oldest continuously published, weekly student-run college newspapers.

The News-Letter is published every Thursday in a full-color front and back page broadsheet format, and has two sections: an A section and a B section. Its total circulation is approximately 5,200, including the local campuses of Johns Hopkins, area colleges and the greater Baltimore region.

Several times a year, The News-Letter distributes a magazine edition with 20- to 30-page tabloid-sized inserts, such as Best of Baltimore, Cover-Letter (introducing new students to the University), Housing Guide, Lacrosse Guide, and the Dining Guide.

The editorial and business boards consist entirely of undergraduates. Members of the editorial staff are democratically elected to one-year terms, while members of the business board are hired by the editors-in-chief. The current editors-in-chief are Kelsey Ko and Morgan Ome.

The News-Letter won an Associated Collegiate Press Newspaper Pacemaker award for four-year, non-daily college newspapers in 2015, 2013, 2008, 2005, 2003, and 1995 and was a finalist for the award in 2010, 2007, and 1997.The News-Letter is an affiliate of UWIRE, which distributes and promotes its content to their network.

Thomas Lennon (filmmaker)

Thomas Furneaux Lennon (born 1951) is a documentary filmmaker.Thomas F. Lennon's films, broadcast on PBS and HBO, have won an Academy Award and have been nominated for the Oscar four times. He has also received two George Foster Peabody Awards, two national Emmys and two DuPont-Columbia Journalism awards. With filmmaker Ruby Yang, he mounted a vast multi-year AIDS prevention campaign seen over a billion times on Chinese television. Together they made a trilogy of short documentary films about modern China, including The Blood of Yingzhou District, which won an Oscar in 2007, and The Warriors of Qiugang, nominated in 2011, which profiles an Anhui Province farmer's multi-year campaign to halt the poisoning of his village water by a nearby factory. Three weeks after the Oscar nomination, the local government of Bengbu, in Anhui, announced a 200 million yuan (US$30 million) clean-up of the toxic site shown in the film. He produced two historical series on PBS: The Irish in America: Long Journey Home (1998) and Becoming American: The Chinese Experience with Bill Moyers (2003). The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1996) co-written with the late Richard Ben Cramer, marked his first Oscar nomination and was adapted into a fiction film, RKO 281, starring John Malkovich and Melanie Griffith.

In 2017, he completed Knife Skills about the hectic launch of Edwins, an haute cuisine French restaurant in Cleveland, staffed by men and women recently released from prison; in January 2018, this was nominated for an Oscar. "Sacred" (2016) explores the use of prayer and ritual in daily life. More than 40 filmmakers around the world contributed scenes to the film, which premiered at the Tokyo Film Festival and is due to be aired on PBS.

Lennon lives and works in New York City. He is married to the medical researcher Joan Reibman, best known for her work on the health of 9/11 survivors. He is at times confused with the writer-comedian Thomas Lennon and has twice had to send back large royalty checks.

What It Takes

What It Takes may refer to:

What It Takes (film), a documentary about Ironman triathletes

"What It Takes" (Aerosmith song), 1989

"What It Takes" (Adam Gregory song), 2008

What It Takes (EP), a 1997 EP by Choclair

What It Takes (album), a 2009 album by The Sleeping

What It Takes: The Way to the White House, a 1992 book by Richard Ben Cramer

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