Jim Cooper/AP

Writer Michael Crichton Dies of Cancer

November 05, 2008 05:11 PM
by Rachel Balik
The beloved but controversial creator of the TV series “ER” and the author of “Jurassic Park” succumbed to cancer at the age of 66.

Writer Michael Crichton Dies

Michael Crichton, acclaimed for the TV show “ER” and such blockbuster novels-turned-films as “Jurassic Park,” “Rising Sun” and “The Andromeda Strain” has died of cancer at the age of 66. The author had not made his battle with the disease public, and his family reports that his death was “unexpected.”

Crichton was a trained doctor who was drawn to science fiction and entertainment. His father had been a journalist and always encouraged him to write; he began his college career as an English major but became disillusioned by his professors, his IMDb biography says. While in medical school at Harvard, he began writing novels and ultimately chose to pursue a career in Hollywood rather than work as a doctor.

Background: Crichton’s Works

One of Crichton’s most famous techno-thrillers is “Jurassic Park,” which was adapted into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. While most people are familiar with this film and its sequels, the book, as was typical for Crichton’s works, weaves a great deal of science into the storyline, including a detailed exploration of chaos theory. It is not the only one of Crichton’s books to become a movie, and he was a screenwriter and director on several others. The Amerpsand rates the Top Ten Michael Crichton Movies of All Time in a tribute to the deceased writer.
In his later years, Crichton was well known and strongly criticized for arguing that humanity has had little influence on global warming and that the threat has been exaggerated out of proportion. His novel “State of Fear" offers a scenario in which the threat of global warming is invented by a cabal of radical environmentalists to manipulate the public. Boston Globe columnist Joshua Glenn suspected that former Vice-President Al Gore took a deliberate swipe at Crichton when he encouraged America not to believe the things they read in science fiction books.

RealClimate, a site devoted to tracking and reporting on global warming, responded to Crichton’s book with a lengthy explanation of why global warming is indeed a threat. The blog addresses the issues raised in Crichton's book, attempting to distinguish fact from fiction on a relatively scientific level.

In addition to taking political and scientific stances, Crichton was a successful writer and director of film and television. In television, he is probably best known for creating “ER,” which drew upon his medical knowledge. According to IMDb, the show was first intended to be a movie. Steven Spielberg had expressed interest, but elected to do “Jurassic Park” instead.

A full list of Crichton’s work is available from WorldCat Identities.

Reference Link: Crichton’s Official Site


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