Christopher Ogden obituary – The Guardian
My friend Chris Ogden, who has died aged 77 after a fall, was one of the most distinguished American journalists of his generation. He reported frontline politics for more than two decades from London, Moscow and Washington DC, and became an acclaimed biographer. He had all of the most important attributes for success in journalism: he was whip-smart, his prose was as elegant as his manners, and he had a charm that could open doors anywhere in the world.
We met in 1985 under a palm tree outside the presidential palace in Cairo, where the then British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, was engaged in talks. Chris had recently been appointed the London bureau chief of Time magazine, a post he held for the next four years and which would lead in 1990 to the publication of his authoritative biography, curated for an American readership, Maggie: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman in Power. The access he managed to secure as a foreign journalist to informative sources across Westminster and Whitehall was a considerable tribute to his professionalism.
Chris was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Michael J Ogden, the longtime editor-in-chief of the Providence Journal, and his wife, Agnes. He went to Portsmouth Abbey school, RI, and after graduating from Yale with a history degree in 1966 served as an army intelligence officer during the Vietnam war. He joined the international news agency UPI (United Press International) as a London correspondent in 1970, moving to report on the cold war from Moscow two years later.
His long career at Time began in 1974. He reported for a year from Los Angeles, then spent five years in Washington, covering the White House and the state department, and travelling widely with successive secretaries of state. He returned to DC after four years as bureau chief in Chicago from 1981 and his posting to London, and resumed writing astute columns and commentary on US and international affairs.
Chris’s celebrated biography of Pamela Churchill Harriman, the British-born former wife of Randolph Churchill who was US ambassador to France from 1993 until her death in 1997, was published in 1994. The book was made into a TV film in 1998. Legacy, a biography of father and son publishers and philanthropists, Moses and Walter Annenberg, which followed in 1999, was the book of which Chris was most proud.
He was also a gifted photographer and his 1974 image of Alexander Solzhenitsyn for a Time magazine cover hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
His first marriage to Deedy (Diana) May in 1967 ended in divorce in 2000. Later that year he met Linda Fuselier, a public relations executive, and they married in 2010. For the last four years they had been living on Kauai, a small island in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Chris is survived by Linda, by his children, Michael and Margaret, from his first marriage, and by his grandson, Jack.