Few people have written about American culture and politics from more varied positions than Frank Rich. During the past 25 years he has been a columnist, op-ed writer, drama critic, film and TV critic, editor and best-selling author.
Mr. Rich was named Associate Editor of The New York Times in January 2003 and began writing a weekly essay on the front page of the Sunday Arts & Leisure section. He was previously a columnist on the Op-Ed Page since January 1994. His columns and articles have drawn from his background as a theater critic and observer of art, entertainment and politics. Mr. Rich also serves as an adviser on the paper's overall cultural news report.
In 1999, he began writing a 1,400-word opinion piece that ran on the Op-Ed Page every other Saturday (instead of the 700-word piece that ran twice a week) and was given the additional title of senior writer for The New York Times Magazine. The dual title was a first for The Times and allowed Mr. Rich to explore a variety of topics at great length.
Prior to writing his column, Mr. Rich served as The Times' chief drama critic beginning in 1980. Before joining The Times, Mr. Rich was a film and television critic at Time magazine. Earlier, he had been film critic for the New York Post and film critic and senior editor of New Times magazine. He was a founding editor of the Richmond (Va.) Mercury, a weekly newspaper, in the early 1970's.
In addition to his work at The Times, Mr. Rich has written about culture and politics for many other publications. His latest book, a childhood memoir titled "Ghost Light", was published in 2000 by Random House. A collection of Mr. Rich's drama reviews, "Hot Seat: Theater Criticism for The New York Times, 1980-1993," was published by Random House in October 1998. His book, "The Theatre Art of Boris Aronson," co-authored with Lisa Aronson, was published by Knopf in 1987.
Born on June 2, 1949 in Washington, D.C., Mr. Rich is a graduate of its public schools. He earned a B.A. degree in American History and Literature graduating magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1971. At Harvard, he was editorial chairman of The Harvard Crimson, an honorary Harvard College scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of a Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellowship.
Mr. Rich has two sons. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, the author and novelist Alex Witchel, who is a reporter for The New York Times.
NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from April 22, 2005.
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