Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. (March 2, 1930 – May 14, 2018) was an American author and journalist widely known for his association with New Journalism, a style of news writing and journalism developed in the 1960s and 1970s that incorporated literary techniques.
Wolfe began his career as a regional newspaper reporter in the 1950s, achieving national prominence in the 1960s following the publication of such best-selling books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (a highly experimental account of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters) and two collections of articles and essays, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. In 1979, he published the influential book The Right Stuff about the Mercury Seven astronauts, which was made into a 1983 film of the same name directed by Philip Kaufman.
His first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, published in 1987, was met with critical acclaim and also became a commercial success. It was adapted as a major motion picture of the same name directed by Brian De Palma.
Wolfe died from an infection in Manhattan on May 14, 2018, at the age of 88.
The historian Meredith Hindley credits Wolfe with introducing the terms "statusphere", "the right stuff", "radical chic", "the Me Decade" and "good ol' boy" into the English lexicon.
Wolfe was at times incorrectly credited with coining the term "trophy wife". His term for extremely thin women in his novel The Bonfire of the Vanities was "X-rays".