“I never went to a John Wayne movie to find a philosophy to live by or to absorb a profound message. I went for the simple pleasure of spending a couple of hours seeing the bad guys lose.” – Mike Royko
Born on this date in 1932, Royko wrote over 7,500 columns for the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Tribune, beginning as a humorist focused on daily life in Chicago before authoring Boss, a scathing negative biography of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1971. In 1972 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.
Royko, who grew up in poverty and was a decorated military veteran, wrote his first columns for his Air Force Base newspaper, beginning in 1955. Ultimately, his columns were syndicated in more than 600 newspapers and he also wrote or compiled dozens of "That's Outrageous!" columns for Reader's Digest.
Over the years, his stories touched on everything from politics to sports to the movies and many were compiled into a dozen books, including three published posthumously. Honored by the National Press Club with its Lifetime Achievement Award, he died in 1997.
“Hollywood likes to boast that it can elevate the national conscience,” he wrote in recalling his love of good movies. “Hollywood is right. A good and strong movie can have a more powerful social impact than any and all political speeches or newspaper editorials and columns.”
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