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Author Michael Crichton Dies at 66

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2008 at 10:44 pm

page6deTo everyone’s surprise, the super-selling sci-fi writer Michael Crichton, best known for his novel Jurassic Park (for those of you who are not fans, yes, it was a book first) and for creating the TV show hit “ER,” has passed on unexpectedly after a courageous and private battle against cancer. Only 66, Crichton died of lymphoma in Los Angeles on Tuesday, November 4th. The author was diagnosed only last spring and loved ones were confident he would beat it, especially his brother Douglas Crichton, 59. “This is a shock to a lot of people, even his physicians,” Douglas told the press. Crichton’s brother claims he was not even worried for his older sibling until about two weeks ago, when his brother could barely speak due to stress from chemotherapy. “While the world knew him as a great storyteller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us – and entertained us all while doing so – his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend,” says a statement on Crichton’s website written by this family.

Michael Crichton’s suspenseful, page-turning, and sometimes horrifying sci-fi books include “Jurassic Park,” “Disclosure,” “Rising Sun,” and “The Terminal Man,” which have all sold more than 150 million copies. People knew and will remember him as an extraordinarily brilliant, gracious, thoughtful, and humorous man. “ER” producer John Wells, a close friend, says, “No lunch with Michael lasted less than three hours and no subject was too prosaic or obscure to attract his interest. Sexual politics, medical and scientific ethics, anthropology, archeology, economics, astronomy, astrology, quantum physics and molecular biology were all regular topics of conversation.” Through his series of novels, Crichton became an inspiration for students, challenged fellow scientists in many fields, and with his creativity illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way that was universally understandable. He even has a dinosaur named after him, Crichton ankylosaur.

From an early age, Crichton eagerly displayed his talent. Douglas Crichton speaks fondly of the brilliance of his brother and recalls watching the sci-fi classic, “Forbidden Planet” with Michael, who used inspiration from that film to build his first robot in their childhood home of Roslyn, Long Island. Crichton was born in Chicago in 1942, with a journalist father, the influence which led to his own interest in writing. He attended medical school partly out of concern he would not make it as a writer, but the success of his first novel, 1969’s “The Andromeda Strain,” changed his mind. Though he was still an M.D. his whole life, he became a distinctive figure in Hollywood filmmaking and television along with his famous novels. He was also physically distinctive, standing at 6 foot 9 inches tall. “Michael’s talent out-scaled even his own dinosaurs of ‘Jurassic Park,’” Steven Spielberg said of Crichton. Throughout his lifetime, although short, the author won an Emmy, a Peabody, a Writer’s Guild of America Award for “ER,” to name a few.

Crichton married five times and had only had one daughter, with a supporting family that will hold a private funeral service, and no further details were released to the public. He has left behind a part of his brilliant mind for fans, his family, and the scientific world, and we will miss him.

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