- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2002

Richard Grenier, a columnist for The Washington Times for more than a decade beginning in 1985, died Tuesday night of a heart attack at his home in Northwest Washington. He was 68.
Mr. Grenier, who wrote for The Times for 14 years, suffered the heart attack while watching television, Cynthia Grenier, his wife of 43 years, said.
A onetime screenwriter and film critic, Mr. Grenier was critic at large for The Times from 1985 until he left the newspaper to pursue other interests in 1999. He wrote on a wide range of issues, including the First Amendment, religion, culture, the arts and politics.
News of his death startled his friends and colleagues, who yesterday remembered Mr. Grenier as "a man of ideas and a man of substance."
Said Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Times: "Richard had a newspaperman's curiosity, an artist's sensibility, and a patriot's love of country. He understood the American character, with an intellectual's insights without an intellectual's condescension, and it showed in everything he wrote."
His curiosity had a wide reach. "Richard was truly a Renaissance man," said Dimitri K. Simes, founding president of the Nixon Center and former chairman and senior associate of the Center for Russian and Eurasian Programs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Without Richard here, there isn't another man in Washington who has Richard's amazing talent of combining politics, culture, art and history in the way he did in his columns. He was a remarkably kind and personable man."
"Richard Grenier's natural curiosity was a beacon guiding him throughout a distinguished writing career," said Mary Lou Forbes, editor of the Commentary pages of The Times. "Unfolding world events came into clearer focus through the insightful and challenging columns he produced for the Commentary pages."
Raised in Brookline, Mass., Mr. Grenier was educated at Harvard University and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he earned an engineering degree. He left the Navy in the mid-1950s, and returned to Harvard to take courses in comparative literature.
He left Harvard in 1959 and in that year he and Cynthia were married.
Mr. Grenier's first jobs as a journalist were with the Agence France-Presse news agency, the Financial Times of London and Group W Broadcasting. He was arrested by Red Army paratroopers while covering the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Mr. Grenier took assignments in Western Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Cuba and the Caribbean. Mr. Grenier also joined his wife in reporting on the annual film festivals throughout Europe.
His first novel, "Yes and Back Again," published in 1966, was well received in both Britain and the United States, with published praise from Richard Burton, Kenneth Tynan and James Jones.
Mr. Grenier achieved early notice for his film reviews; he was once described as "Voltaire in a xenophobic mood." After returning from France to New York in 1979, Mr. Grenier worked as a film critic for Commentary magazine and as a commentator on cultural issues for PBS in New York before joining the New York Times as a cultural correspondent.
After his departure from The Washington Times in 1999, Mr. Grenier continued to write columns for Commentary and the Internet news site WorldNetDaily.com.
In addition to his wife, Cynthia, of Northwest, Mr. Grenier is survived by a brother, Robert Grenier of Florida; a sister, Barbara Grenier Applebaum of Massachusetts; and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements are pending.


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