Robert Jordan (1948 - 2007)

A photo of Robert Jordan
James Oliver Rigney
1948 - 2007
October 17, 1948
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina United States
September 16, 2007
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina United States
Other Names
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was born on October 17, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina United States. He died on September 16, 2007 in Charleston, South Carolina United States at 58 years of age.
Updated: June 9, 2022
James Oliver Rigney Jr., better known by his pen name Robert Jordan, was married to Harriet Popham McDougal Rigney (born 1939) who was also his editor on the world famous high fantasy series The Wheel of Time.
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Robert Jordan
Most commonly known as
James Oliver Rigney Jr
Full name
Robert Jordan
Other names or aliases
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina 29401
Last known residence
James Rigney was born on in Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina United States
James Rigney died on in Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina United States
cardiac amyloidosis
Cause of death
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Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

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Nationality & Locations

Born, raised and spent his life in Charlestown South Carolina. Of course he travelled a lot for book tours particularly as the Wheel of Time series gained in popularity.


He attended Clemson University for one year immediately after high school, but then enlisted in the U.S. Army during Vietnam. After returning from Vietnam in 1970, Jordan studied physics at The Citadel where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 19774.


James was recorded as saying that he was a "High Church" Episcopalian.


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James is better known by his pen name "Robert Jordan" and as the creator of the 14 book series Wheel of Time. He also wrote a number of Conan the Barbarian books.

Personal Life

A rather intellectual individual, James was a history buff and enjoyed hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool, and pipe-collecting. He and his wife, Harriet McDougal, worked together. She was James' editor and an editor at Tor Books - the publishing company of the Wheel of Time series.

Military Service

James served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War in the U.S. army as a helicopter gunner until 1970. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. In 1974 he began working for the U.S. Navy as a nuclear engineer.

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My discovery of the Wheel of Time book series

I'll always remember when I first discovered the Wheel of Time books. It was the summer of 1996 and I was touring England, Wales, and Scotland with my grandmother when I happened to notice The Eye of the World (1st book) in a train station. I grabbed it in preparation for a rather long ride to Scotland and began reading it listening to the soundtrack of Braveheart. I don't recall exactly, but I think I began the second book either on the flight back home or definitely when I returned. I remember sharing this book I found with my mother and her laughing telling me she had suggested it to me years earlier. I've read the entire 14 book series two times cover to cover, and some of the books a third time. Always while listening to the soundtrack of Braveheart. In fact, it's because of this tradition that I ran through the cassette tapes a few times and was happy when CDs arrived since I'd no longer need to buy additional copies. When each new book was released I'd start from the beginning, or a few books before, and read the new release within two or three days. Often with a new book release I'd make it my priority simply to spend all day and night reading. I've recommended this series to my dearest friends and always found it illuminating to discuss the deeper meanings in each of the characters, cultures, and possible ancient history the books allude to.
Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna shared
on Jun 07, 2022 2:19 AM

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Robert Jordan died on September 16, 2007 in Charleston, South Carolina United States at age 58. He was born on October 17, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina United States. We have no information about James' surviving family.

1948 - 2007 World Events

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In 1948, in the year that Robert Jordan was born, on May 14th, the State of Israel was proclaimed by David Ben-Gurion, who became Israel's first Premier, and the U.S. officially recognized Israel. That evening, Egypt launched an air assault on Israel.

In 1959, by the time he was merely 11 years old, on August 8th, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. The US flag was changed to show 50 stars.

In 1965, at the age of 17 years old, James was alive when from August 11 to 16, riots broke out in Watts, a Black section of Los Angeles. An allegedly drunk African-American driver was stopped by LA police and, after a fight, police brutality was alleged - and the riots began. 34 people died in the rioting and over $40 million in property damage occurred. The National Guard was called in to help the LA police quell rioting.

In 1979, by the time he was 31 years old, on November 4th, Iranian militant students seized the US embassy in Teheran and held 52 American citizens and diplomats hostage for 444 days. They were released at the end of the inauguration speech of the newly elected Ronald Reagan.

In 1980, James was 32 years old when on December 8th, ex-Beatle John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of his home - the Dakota - in New York City. Chapman was found guilty of murder and still remains in jail.

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