No one knows America better than Charlie LeDuff. No one.
Writer, reporter, documentarian, stuntman. LeDuff has crossed the Mojave Desert with migrant Mexicans, slaughtered hogs in North Carolina, rode the boxcars across the West, motorcycled with Governor Schwarzenegger, slept in the uptown crack houses of New York City…all in pursuit of the story.
LeDuff is presently national correspondent for Fox TVs “The Americans with Charlie LeDuff" – an outrageous, often slap-stick excavation of this American life. From weed in Colorado to greed on Wall Street – nothing and no one are sacrosanct here.
Formerly an investigative reporter and editorialist for Detroit’s Fox affiliate WJBK Ch. 2, LeDuff's mix of humor, outrage and post-modern editing helped put the station at the top of the Detroit market. His stories illuminate the pain, humor and absurdity of living in Detroit -- America’s largest Dead City.
His Detroit stories have also ended the careers of three Chiefs of Police, two Fire Commissioners, one Circuit Court Judge, one State Supreme Court Judge, two Mayors of Detroit, two City Councilmembers and the Wayne County Chief Executive Officer.
His reporting on the Wayne County cutbacks to Meals on Wheels and his report from a bubble bath on the slow police response are among the top links of all time on the social network Reddit.
For all this, he has been named one of GQ’s 2013 Men of The Year.
But he is more than a local TV guy. This year, he landed on the New York Times best seller list with his third book Detroit: An American Autopsy.
LeDuff is also a former national and foreign correspondent for The New York Times – where he was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for National Reporting. He contributed a long form story about race relations in the world’s largest slaughterhouse. To get the story, he happily murdered animals for a living. He also covered the invasion of Iraq.
His writing has also appeared inThe New Yorker, Mother Jones, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, National Geographic and others. He was a National Magazine Award Finalist in 2011.
LeDuff has worked exhaustively in long form television. In a paring of The New York Times and the Discovery Channel in 2005 he produced, wrote and was one air correspondent for Only in America, a 10-part series which featured breathtaking stunts of participatory journalism. LeDuff played on a professional minor league football team, rode a bull in a gay rodeo, fought in a motor-cycle gang’s fight club, enlisted in a traveling circus as a trapeze clown, preached in Appalachia, joined the elite world of New York models and lead the charge in the Wild West re-enactment of Custer’s last stand. Variety called him “Charles Kuralt with a higher pain threshold.”
LeDuff starred, wrote and co-produced a documentary in 2006 which aired on BBC4. Titled: United Gates of America, LeDuff moved into Cayon Lake, Calif. – the largest gated city in the Golden State. What he found there were Nazi youth, the town good time girl, a porno-director with a frozen alligator in his refrigerator and a general fear and loathing of the outside world.
In 2010, he wrote and starred in Greed: a 30-minute Roger And Me-style documentary for the Independent Film Channel. Trying to find blame for who screwed America and our economy, LeDuff traveled from his brother’s struggling Detroit screw factory, to a New York brokerage house to the U.S. Senate chambers on Capitol Hill. In the end, the answer he got was clear. We all screwed us, albeit some more than others.
LeDuff has appeared as a guest on Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, Charlie Rose and Anthony Bourdain, among other nationally televised programs.
Previously, LeDuff, 48, has worked as a carpenter, middle school teacher and gang counselor in Detroit, a bartender in Australia and a baker in Denmark. He lived in a tree house in Alaska and slept on the Great Wall of China. He speaks passable Spanish.
LeDuff received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a master of journalism degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
He lives with his wife and daughter near Detroit, Michigan.