D.J. Waldie is a cultural historian, memoirist, and translator. He is a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times and formerly a contributing writer for Los Angeles magazine. He has published five non-fiction books, each dealing with different aspects of everyday life. Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir (Norton, 1996; revised edition, 2005) explored the intersection of personality and place in Lakewood, California. Real City: Downtown Los Angeles Inside/Out (Angel City Press, 2001), a collaboration with photographer Marissa Roth, observed downtown Los Angeles as it transitioned to its newest incarnation. Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles (Angel City Press, 2004) collected a decade of Waldie’s essays and observations about the city’s rapid evolution. Close to Home: An American Album (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004) is a meditation on the American snapshot and its place in the narratives of everyday lives. No Circus (Damiani, 2016), a collaboration with photographer Randi Malkin Steinberger, considers the phenomenology of houses tented for fumigation. In collaboration with Diane Keaton, Waldie provided the text for two photographic explorations of home: California Romantica (Rizzoli, 2007), dealing with homes in the Spanish Colonial Revival style of the early twentieth century, and House (Rizzoli, 2012), examining post-modern interpretations of domesticity. California Romantica became a Los Angeles Times nonfiction bestseller in 2007.
D.J. Waldie’s narratives about suburban life have appeared in Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, Georgetown Review, Salon, dwell, Los Angeles magazine, Spiritus, Gulf Coast, Urbanisme, Bauwelt, and other publications. His book reviews and commentary have appeared in Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.
He was born in 1948. He attended California State University, Long Beach (then a California state college) and University of California, Irvine, where he was a Regents Intern Fellow in Comparative Literature. He received an MA in Comparative Literature from UC Irvine in 1974. In the mid-1970s, he taught at California State University, Long Beach in its Department of Comparative Literature and the University Honors Program. He began his career in public administration in Lakewood in 1977. He served as the city's public information officer between 1981 and 2009. He retired as deputy city manager of Lakewood in 2010.
D.J. Waldie lives in Lakewood, California, in the house his parents bought in 1946.