Since the dawn of celebrity time, famous folks have called upon the scribes of our world to put pen to paper in their stead. There is no shame in admitting that something is above your pay grade, which is why the use of ghostwriters for memoirs is a fairly common practice. Writing doesn't come easy for everyone, and writing a book about your life is quite the challenge. It's best left up to the professionals.
Prince Harry is no exception to this ironically unwritten rule. For his memoir, Spare, the royal reached out to a ghostwriter who is no stranger to the biography game. Who is Prince Harry's ghostwriter and just how spooky is his writing?
Let's meet Prince Harry's ghostwriter.
According to The Independent, despite their vastly different backgrounds, ghostwriter JR Moehringer and Prince Harry have much in common. Although there are two decades and an ocean between them, these two men dealt with "parental dysfunction, both floundering to find their places in vastly different worlds." While Prince Harry seemingly had his entire life mapped out, JR was free to follow his passion which ended up being writing.
Journalism was his calling and he dutifully answered, "first working as a New York Times copyboy before moving in 1990 to the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News in Colorado," per the Independent. What attracted him to this low-budget paper was its decidedly Wild West feel which was not entirely based on the location. It was an island of misfit toys and JR fit right in. It was the perfect place to go from lowercase-w writer to capital-W Writer. By 1998 he was writing for the Los Angeles Times where JR became a Pulitzer finalist, which he would win two years later.
After JR tackled his own memoir The Tender Bar in 2005, tennis player Andre Agassi was "so taken by Moehringer’s tale about a fatherless child [that he] called him up and asked him to write his own story," the Independent notes. JR told NPR that the secret to writing a memoir is to "try and inhabit their skin, and even though you’re thinking third person, you’re writing first person." It would appear that what JR also specializes in, for obvious reasons, is men with complicated fathers which is why Prince Harry was the perfect story for him.
Ben Affleck played JR Moehringer's uncle in the screen adaptation of JR's memoir 'The Tender Bar.'
Released in 2021, the film adaptation of Tender Bar starred Ben Affleck as JR's bartending father-figure uncle who helped raise young JR after his abusive father abandoned his family. "My personal list of needs was long," he revealed in The Tender Bar. "An only child abandoned by my father, I needed a family, a home and men." His uncle was one of those men and the bar where he worked was a school where softened masculinity was taught.
In the film we follow JR as he attempts to navigate a childhood plagued by abandonment but grounded by heroes in unlikely places. From the regulars at the bar to his own mother and cantankerous grandfather, we witness how one can find missing love in less obvious places. It is part of the reason why JR Moehringer was such an obvious choice for Prince Harry's memoir as he too had to forge his own familial path, looking for new heroes along the way.