The world has come to know Daniel Pearl as the Wall
Street Journal reporter who was murdered by terrorists
in Karachi, Pakistan, in early 2002. Since then, he has been remembered more for his humanity and love of life than his senseless death.
Danny -- as he was known to family, friends, and colleagues
-- was born on Oct. 10, 1963, in Princeton, N. J.,
and moved with his family to Los Angeles at the age
of 2. Early on, he displayed an insatiable curiosity
for numerous pursuits, be they musical, intellectual,
or athletic. He continued to be active in all of these
areas throughout his life.
Music was an essential form of expression for Danny. His early interests led him to become an accomplished violinist, as well as a fixture in several bands and clubs that gave him another outlet for his virtuoso turns on electric violin, fiddle, and mandolin. Friends and colleagues recall how quickly he would pick up an instrument when he sensed an occasion, such as the song he co-wrote for his pregnant and overdue friend or the Christmas he serenaded co-workers who were waylaid at the office.
Danny exuded this kind of compassion and joyousness wherever he went. He endeared himself to others with an easy humor and appreciation for the absurd, always keeping an open mind to other perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds. Clerics and rabbis, CEOs and refugees, musicians and politicians all considered him a friend. He joined pickup soccer games, sniffed out nightclubs, and talked up strangers - no matter the geography. He was by nature a bridge-builder who sought to make people understand each other better through his music, words and humor.
A gifted writer from a very young age, Danny's aptitude for journalism became apparent later on. He attended Stanford University from 1981 to 1985, where he stood out as a communication major with Phi Beta Kappa honors and co-founded a student newspaper called the Stanford Commentary. After graduating from Stanford, he spent a summer as a Pulliam Fellow intern at the Indianapolis Star and a winter bussing tables as a ski bum in Idaho. Following a trip to the then-Soviet Union, China, and Europe, he joined the North Adams Transcript and the Berkshire Eagle in Western Massachusetts. He moved on to the San Francisco Business Times before being hired by the Wall Street Journal in 1990.
He started in the Journal's Atlanta bureau and moved to the Washington bureau in 1993 to cover telecommunications. He jumped to the Journal's London bureau in 1996 as a Middle East correspondent, before meeting his wife-to-be Mariane in 1998 and resettling in Paris. The two were married in 1999 and relocated to Bombay in 2000, where Danny became the Journal's South Asia bureau chief.
Danny's skill as a foreign correspondent was apparent not only in the entertaining pieces that shed light on other cultures and customs but also in investigative stories that uncovered the truth from the rubble of war and devastation: discovering that the U.S. had mistakenly bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant that was thought to be a terrorist weapons factory; refuting characterizations of the war in Kosovo as genocide; and breaking the story of al Qaeda's money laundering through the tanzanite gem market.
It was from Bombay that Danny covered the "war on terrorism," occasionally venturing into Pakistan. He was retracing the steps of "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and hoped to meet with militant extremists when he was abducted in Karachi on Jan. 23, 2002. Several weeks elapsed without word of his fate when he was confirmed to be dead on Feb. 21. Four of the kidnappers were convicted of murder on July 15, including mastermind Omar Saeed Sheik.
During this period of time, Mariane Pearl gave birth to her and Danny's only child, Adam. By then, the world had become familiar with Danny's gentle, caring, and honest character, which continues to inspire many who have never even met him. His friends and family created the Daniel Pearl Foundation to carry on his legacy, using music and words to help people better understand one another.