Glenn O’Brien, Maxim Editor at Large and Legendary Style Icon, Has Died at Age 70

#RIP to the ultimate arbiter of downtown NYC style.

Glenn O'Brien
Glenn O’Brien

It’s with great sadness that we honor Glenn O’Brien, a revered style icon and Maxim editor-at-large, who has died at age 70. 

Before joining Maxim in 2015, O’Brien authored the “Style Guy” column that ran in Details and then GQ for nearly 20 years. He was a downtown New York City legend who thrived in the interconnected worlds of art, music, and fashion. 

An Ohio native, Glenn was a member of Andy Warhol’s iconic Factory in the ’60s and ’70s, and in 1971 became editor of the famed pop artist’s Interview magazine. 

While O’Brien’s unimpeachable art world cred was established from his association with Warhol, his star truly began to rise with the dawn of public access TV. In 1978, he and Blondie’s Chris Stein created Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party

The groundbreaking show ran on Manhattan public access for five years, and its guest list was a veritable who’s who of famous artists and musicians, including David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Iggy Pop, David Byrne, Mick Jones, George Clinton, Nile Rogers and John Lurie. 

As ArtForum reported in announcing Glenn’s death, he was also a musician in his own right:

O’Brien himself had a band as well, called Konelrad, which he described as a “socialist-realist rock band” and which authored such tunes as “Seize the Means of Production,” “Hardcore Melt Down,” and “I Don’t Want Your Germs.”

Glenn’s career as a magazine editor was as colorful as everything else he did. He was at one point the New York bureau chief for Rolling Stone and editor-at-large for High Times magazine.  

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During his long and storied career O’Brien also wrote screenplays, authored four books, and was a founding editor of Bomb magazine. 

According to this 2015 New York Times profile, he even achieved rock immortality by being the underwear model for the inside photo of the classic Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers.

In 2009, GQ named O’Brien as one of their top 10 Most Stylish Men in America—an appropriate honor for a man who also created ad campaigns for brands like Giorgio Armani, Dior, and Dolce & Gabbana. 

Glenn O’Brien truly carried his mentor Andy Warhol’s spirit and vibe into the 21st century, and he leaves behind an amazing, eclectic, and fascinating legacy. We will miss him.