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November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton Dies

Bestselling Author, ER Creator

Michael Crichton, the physician turned best-selling author, screenwriter, director and producer, died November 4 in Los Angeles, after a battle with cancer. He was 66.

Crichton was the author of The Andromeda Strain, Westworld, Jurassic Park, Disclosure and more than two dozen other books. His works were translated into 36 languages and sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. His novels frequently melded action, science fiction and technology to create thrillers that were commercial and thought-provoking at the same time. His most recent novel, Next, about genetics and law, was published in December 2006.

Crichton’s literary achievements led to a long and successful career in film and television as well. Thirteen of his books were adapted into feature films and TV productions, and at different times he toiled as a screenwriter, director and producer.

His most enduring television legacy is the NBC medical drama ER, which he created. The acclaimed series is currently in its fifteenth and final season.

In December 1994, he achieved the unique distinction of having America’s #1 movie, Jurassic Park, the #1 television show, ER, and the #1 book, Disclosure, which topped the paperback list.

Born in Chicago on October 23, 1942, Crichton graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College, received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, California, where he researched public policy with Jacob Bronowski.

Over the years he taught courses in anthropology at Cambridge University and writing at MIT. His first bestseller, The Andromeda Strain, was published while he was still a medical student. His 2004 bestseller State of Fear acknowledged that the world was growing warmer, but challenged extreme anthropogenic warming scenarios.

Crichton won a Primetime Emmy award, and was nominated seven times overall. He also received a Peabody and a Writers Guild of America Award for ER.

In 2002, inspired by his authorship of Jurassic Park and The Lost World, a newly discovered ankylosaur was named for him: Crichtonsaurus bohlini.

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