Tom Clancy, the author of best-selling military thrillers such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games,” died Tuesday at a Baltimore hospital. He was 66.
Clancy’s publisher confirmed the news to the New York Times. Spokespeople for the author’s literary agency, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, and publisher, Putnam, did not immediately respond to TheWrap‘s requests for comment.
In a career that spanned three decades, Clancy became one of the most successful figures in publishing. His name above a title was a calling card that conferred best-seller status on his espionage and military thrillers and inspired a dizzying array of tie-ins ranging from movies to video and board games. His books reveled in the technological details of spy-craft and weaponry, spending paragraphs recounting the various features of a nuclear submarine or a fighter plane, for instance.
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His most enduring creation may have been Jack Ryan, the patriotic and morally upright CIA analyst turned politician at the center of more than a dozen novels including “The Sum of All Fears” and “The Cardinal of the Kremlin.” The character was notable because his life and ascent mirrored the tectonic changes taking place in American foreign policy throughout Clancy’s writing career, as the country moved away from Cold War brinksmanship and turned its gaze to terrorist threats in the Middle East.
Clancy is scheduled to revive the character once again in “Command Authority,” an upcoming novel that will be released on Dec. 3. It finds Ryan returning to the hotspot where it all started and grappling with a new threat in Russia.
But the printed page could not hold Ryan. His literary exploits inspired four big-screen adventures, with Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck all portraying the intelligence expert in commercially successful films like “Clear and Present Danger” and “The Sum of All Fears.”
“Jack Ryan: Shadow One,” a fifth Ryan film starring Chris Pine as the titular analyst and directed by Kenneth Branagh, opens in theaters this December.
In addition to films, Clancy lent his name to a series of popular video games such as “Splinter Cell” from game maker UbiSoft. He was also a part-time owner of the Baltimore Orioles.
A political conservative and prominent supporter of the National Rifle Association, Clancy made headlines when he blamed liberal lawmakers for gutting the CIA, which he argued indirectly caused the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
“The CIA was gutted by people on the political left who don’t like Intelligence operations… and as a result of that, as an indirect result of that, we lost 5,000 citizens,” the author told Bill O’Reilly during a Fox News appearance shortly after the attacks.