John Christensen is the author of Perfect Swing, Imperfect Lies: The Legacy of Golf’s Longest Hitterand Serve: The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation Story. He contributed to a book about Martin Luther King Jr. entitled Voices: Reflections on an American Icon in Stories and Songand to the CNN book, Katrina: State of Emergency.
As a journalist, he was a senior writer at CNN.com and has written for The New York Times, The Saturday Evening Post, Atlanta Magazine, Northeast Magazine and newspapers in Atlanta, Hartford, Honolulu, Louisville, Providence and Winston-Salem. He also contributed to the quarterly magazine and website of the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
He has been nominated for Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting, sports commentary and feature writing. He also won a national award for magazine writing from the Education Writers Association. He was interviewed for the book Online Journalism: Reporting, Writing & Editing for the Internet by Professor Richard Craig of San Jose State University.
He has reported on hard news, sports and the environment; was a music critic and sports columnist; reviewed books and films; and wrote editorials and environmental columns. He contributed content to the websites for two CNN-TV specials: “Millennium,” and the award-winning series, “The Cold War.”
He has interviewed a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (Linus Pauling); two Pulitzer Prize winners (biographer Leon Edel and poet W.S. Merwin); two precocious 19-year-olds (Magic Johnson and Yo-Yo Ma); three baseball Hall of Famers (Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays) and a four-time, Super Bowl-winning quarterback (Joe Montana).
Other interviews include artist Billy Al Bengston, photographer Aaron Siskind and sculptor Isamu Noguchi; musicians Count Basie, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, the Allman Brothers, Tammy Wynette and ZZ Top; athletes Julius Erving, John McEnroe, and Sugar Ray Leonard; golfer Gene Sarazen; authors Carl Sagan, Frank Herbert, Philip Caputo and Michael Pollan; and poets Galway Kinnell, Gary Snyder and Diane Wakoski.
He interviewed spiritual authors Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch and Paul Reps, and profiled Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama. He interviewed the first man to reach the top of Mt. Everest (with Hilary), Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, and the first man to ski down it, Yuichiro Miura. Also: supermodels Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin; Morganna, the Kissing Bandit; Playboy’s 25th anniversary playmate; TV personality Dick Clark; and actor Vincent Price.
He also had unexpected encounters with Muhammad Ali, Jane Fonda, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Janet Jackson.
His assignments have included rafting the Ohio River, canoeing the Canadian Boundary Waters, kayaking the Na Pali coast of Kauai and flying in an F-4F Phantom fighter jet. He was arrested and jailed while reporting on a story, and cleared by trial. He has hitchhiked across the country, done a firewalk, been present at three shootings — one of them a murder — and survived two other life-threatening incidents.
As an actor, he has appeared in several commercials, and hosted an archival video series featuring Professor Jagdish Sheth of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
He lives in Atlanta.