Marie Brenner

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Marie Brenner
Marie brenner bio.jpg
Marie Brenner
Born Marie Harriet Brenner
1949 (age 69–70)
San Antonio, Texas
Occupation Author, investigative journalist
Spouse(s) Jonathan Schwartz
(m. 1979–1984; div.)
Ernest Harold Pomerantz
(m. 1985-present)
Children 1
Parent(s) Milton Brenner
Thelma Brenner
Relatives Anita Brenner (aunt)

Marie Brenner (born 1949) is an American author, investigative journalist and writer-at-large for Vanity Fair.[1] She has also written for New York, The New Yorker and the Boston Herald[2] and has taught at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.[3] Her Vanity Fair article on tobacco insider Jeffrey Wigand, "The Man Who Knew Too Much", inspired the 1999 movie The Insider, starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino.


Marie Harriet Brenner was born in San Antonio, Texas to Milton and Thelma Brenner. She grew up in San Antonio and moved to New York in 1970.

Her father was chairman of Solo Serve Corporation, a chain of Texas discount stores started by her grandfather Isidor Brenner, who emigrated from Mexico to Texas during the Mexican Revolution.[4] The grandfather, was born in the Baltic duchy of Kurland in 1872 and came through the Texas port, Galveston, in 1890. The grandmother, Paula, came from Riga, Latvia and Chicago.[5]

She is the niece of Anita Brenner, anthropologist and author of Idols Behind Alters, published in 1929. Anita was a member of the circle of Mexican muralists and artists, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Edward Weston, and Tina Modotti, who flourished in Mexico in the 1920s and was widely credited with helping to introduce their work in the United States.[6] One of the first women to be a regular contributor to The New York Times, Anita Brenner once interviewed Leon Trotsky, the deposed leader of the Russian Revolution and was an authority on Mexico and Latin American affairs.

She had an older brother Carl, a lawyer turned apple farmer who was the focus of her memoir, Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found. [7]


Brenner earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and received a M.A. from New York University Film School.[8] She was the first female baseball columnist covering the American League, traveling with the Boston Red Sox for the Boston Herald during the 1979 season.[9]

Brenner worked as a contributing editor for New York magazine from 1980–1984, and covered the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.[10]

Brenner joined Vanity Fair as a special correspondent in 1984. She left the magazine in 1992 to become a staff writer at The New Yorker, returning to Vanity Fair in 1995 as writer-at-large.[2]

Her explosive 1996 article for Vanity Fair on Jeffrey Wigand and the tobacco wars, titled "The Man Who Knew Too Much",[11] was made into the 1999 feature film The Insider, starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino, and directed by Michael Mann. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.[12]

Brenner's 2002 Vanity Fair article, "The Enron Wars," delving into the investigation into the Enron scandals, made national news when Senator Peter Fitzgerald used it to question witnesses testifying before a senate committee.[13]

An archive of Brenner's work is stored at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.[14]

In 2009, the Manhattan Theater Club announced that it had commissioned Alfred Uhry to adapt Brenner's memoir Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found for the stage.[15]


  • Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found by Marie Brenner (2008)
  • Great Dames: What I Learned from Older Women (2000)
  • House of Dreams: The Bingham Family of Louisville (1988)
  • Intimate Distance (1983)
  • Going Hollywood: An Insider's Look at Power and Pretense in the Movie Business (1978)
  • Tell Me Everything (1976)

Further reading

  • Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists featuring Marie Brenner. Edited by Nan Cuba and Riley Robinson (Trinity University Press, 2008).


  1. Panero, James (2008-06-29). "Brother, Who Art Thou?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Marie Brenner". Vanity Fair.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "The George T. Delacorte Center". Columbia University.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Bennett, Steve. "Memoir traces author's complicated relationship with older brother". San Antonio Express-News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Marie Brenner (2008). Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found. New York: Sarah Crichton Books. pp. 99-100 and 104-105. ISBN 9780374173524
  6. "Anita Brenner: A Preliminary Inventory of Her Papers". Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Yabroff, Jennie. "Brothers and Sisters". Newsweek.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Marie Brenner Is Married to Ernest H. Pomerantz". The New York Times. 1985-04-15. Retrieved 2010-05-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Press Release: Marie Brenner to Speak at Friends of the libraries' Annual Meeting". Boston University.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Marie Brenner (1981-08-03). "The Wedding of the Century". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2016-03-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Vanity Fair.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. The Insider on IMDb
  13. "Enron Executives Testify Before Senate Commerce Committee". 2001-02-07. Retrieved 2010-05-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Marie Brenner: Insider Investigations". Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Kenneth Jones. "Uhry Will Adapt Brenner's Memoir for MTC; Meadow to Direct". Playbill.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links