Lardner was married to Ellis Abbott of Goshen, Indiana in 1911. They had four sons, John, James, Ring Jr., and David. John was a newspaperman, sports columnist and magazine writer. Ring Lardner, Jr., won two Academy Awards as a screenwriter and was blacklisted as one of the Hollywood Ten. His book, "The Lardners, My Family Remembered," is a reliable source of Lardner information. James, also a newpaperman, was killed in the Spanish Civil War fighting with the International Brigades. David worked for The New Yorker as a general reporter and war correspondent before he was killed in a mine explosion in Germany in 1945.
Lardner went on to write such well-known stories as Haircut, Some Like Them Cold, The Golden Honeymoon, Alibi Ike, and A Day in the Life of Conrad Green. He also continued to write follow-up stories to You Know Me Al, with the hero of that book, the headstrong but gullible Jack Keefe, experiencing various ups and downs in his major league career and in his personal life. Private Keefe's World War I letters home to his friend Al were collected in Treat 'Em Rough.
Lardner also had a lifelong fascination with the theatre, though his only success was June Moon, a comedy co-written with Broadway veteran George S. Kaufman. He did write a series of brief nonsense plays which poked fun at the conventions of the theatre using zany, offbeat humor and outrageous, impossible stage directions, such as "The curtain is lowered for seven days to denote the lapse of a week."
Lardner was a close friend of F. Scott Fitzgerald and other writers of the Jazz Age. He was published by Maxwell Perkins, who also served as Fitzgerald's editor. To create his first book of short stories Lardner had to get copies from the magazines he'd sold them to - he held his own short stories in light regard and did not save copies.
He was in some respects the model for the tragic character Abe North in Fitzgerald's last completed novel, Tender Is the Night . With the exception of You Know Me Al, which was initially written and published as six separate stories, Lardner never wrote a novel, but is considered by many to be one of America's best writers of the short story.
Lardner was also a well-known sports columnist, who began his career as a teenager with the South Bend Tribune. Soon after, he took a position with the rival South Bend Times, the first of many professional switches. In 1907, Lardner moved to Chicago, where he joined the Inter-Ocean, considered the worst newspaper in the city. Within the space of a year, he moved up to the Chicago Examiner, then to the Tribune. Two years later, Lardner was in St. Louis , writing the humorous baseball column "Pullman Pastimes" for Taylor Spink and the Sporting News; some of this work was the genesis for "You Know Me Al." Within three months, he was an employee of the Boston American.
Lardner returned to the Chicago Tribune in 1913, which became the home paper for his syndicated "In the Wake of the News" column, which was seen in over 100 newspapers. The Wake of the News column continues on the Tribune's sports page to this day, 95 years later.
Sarah Bembrey has written about a singular event in Lardner's sportswriting experience:
In the 1988 movie about the Black Sox, Eight Men Out, writer-director John Sayles portrayed Lardner as one of the clear-eyed observers who were not taken in by the conspiracy. In one scene, Sayles strolls through the White Sox train, singing a parody of the song "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," changed to "I'm Forever Blowing Ballgames.
Lardner's last baseball writing was Lose With a Smile in 1933.
Lardner influenced Ernest Hemingway, who sometimes wrote articles for his high school newspaper under the pseudonym Ring Lardner, Jr.