Luard, Nicholas 1937-2004

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LUARD, Nicholas 1937-2004

(James McVean)


See index for CA sketch: Born June 26, 1937, in London, England; died of cancer, May 25, 2004, in London, England. Author. Beginning his career as a satirist, as well as founder of the magazine Private Eye and the nightclub the Establishment, Luard later made a name for himself as a novelist, travel writer, and environmentalist. Though born in London, he spent his early childhood in Tehran, Iran, where his father was a manager for the oil company British Petroleum. When he was seven, his parents divorced and he was sent back to England to attend a boarding school. He later attended Winchester College on a scholarship, followed by a year at the Sorbonne. After serving in the Coldstream Guards from 1955 to 1957, he attended Magdalene College, completing a master's degree at Cambridge University in 1960 and a second master's at the University of Pennsylvania in 1961. It was while at Magdalene that he met Peter Cook, the talented comedian and Beyond the Fringe performer with whom he would found the Soho club called the Establishment. The Establishment was a popular comedy venue during the 1960s, and Luard also found success in 1962 by purchasing the Private Eye, the satirical magazine for which he became known as "the Emperor of Satire." Selling the magazine to Cook in 1963, he moved to Spain and began a writing career, penning travel books such as The Last Wilderness: A Journey across the Great Kalahari Desert (1981) and Wildlife Parks of Africa (1985), as well as novels like The Orion Lion (1976), the bestselling Gondar (1988), and Silverback (1996). His love of Africa, inspired by the time his mother took him to that land when he was a child, and his love of nature in general led Luard to become active in environmental pursuits. He founded the John Muir Trust in Scotland in 1981, buying up huge tracts of land to be conserved for future generations. The 1990s were a tough time for Luard; first, one of his children contracted AIDS, about which he wrote in The Field of the Star: A Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago de Comp (1998), and he lost a bid for a seat in the British Parliament in 1997. Luard also contracted cancer, which, after a period of remission and a liver transplant, eventually came back and proved fatal.



Guardian (London, England), June 1, 2004, p. 21.

Independent (London, England), May 28, 2004, p. 34.

Times (London, England), May 28, 2004, p. 44.