Terry Teachout died on January 13th, he was 65. He was well known for his biographies of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and H.L. Mencken. He cherished his roots as a small town boy from Missouri, but found himself drawn to the arts and culture of New York City, where he relocated in the 1980s.
Apon arrival in the city he found an internship in the editing department at Harper’s magazine, and wrote editorials for the New York Daily News for several years while publishing essays and criticism at a variety of other publications, notably for National Review. He was currently the long standing drama critic for the Wall Street Journal and contributor to Arts Journal and The New York Times, among other publications.
He wrote a number of books beginning with a memoir in 1991, followed by a number related to the performing arts and journalism. His 2002 biography of H.L. Mencken, was followed in 2004 for by a biography of dance choreographer George Balanchine. His greatest success was Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, published to great fanfare in 2009. He followed it up with Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington in 2013.
In 2011 Teachout debuted his own Satchmo at the Waldorf, a one-man-two-character play about Louis Armstrong and Joe Glaser. It went on in a revised form to win the drama critic praise for his own production. He also wrote the libretti for three operas.