Tom Clancy, Master of the Military Spy Thriller, Has Died at Age 66
Clancy died late Tuesday--following a brief illness, according to the Baltimore Sun--at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, not far from his home. Born and educated in Baltimore, Clancy had lived most of his life in Maryland, where he was co-owner of the Baltimore Orioles.
Across an unparalleled career that began in 1984, with the smash success of his debut novel, The Hunt for Red October, Clancy created the modern paragon of the militarized spy thriller. Clancy’s novels, perpetual New York Times bestsellers, most of them featuring his tough-guy, ex-Marine CIA agent hero, Jack Ryan, are considered classics of the genre. Clancy’s latest Jack Ryan book, Command Authority, is scheduled to be released in December.
Stephen C. Hunter, the author and former film critic, told the Baltimore Sun on Wednesday that Clancy inspired a generation of spy novelists, like himself. Clancy's novels “redefined and expanded the genre and, as a consequence of that, a lot of people were able to publish such books who had previously been unable to do so," Hunter said. Many of Clancy’s novels--Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears--were made into blockbuster films, as was The Hunt for Red October.
Clancy's publisher, Penguin, estimates that there are more 100 million copies of his books in print.
In addition to his many novels, Clancy was a prolific nonfiction writer, penning military histories and biographies of military leaders. Entrepreneurial to the extreme, he was also a screenwriter, a video game creator, and had licensed his name to numerous books that were co-written by other authors. Clancy was also known for his vocal conservative politics, his pro-military opinions, and his support for the National Rifle Association.
Known for love and understanding of weapons and technology, Clancy "valued technical precision and on-target writing that became the form of the modern thriller," Hunter told the Baltimore Sun.
Clancy was equally well-known for his undying love of his home town of Baltimore, which is where the fictional Jack Ryan was born and raised, too. Reflecting on his working-class roots, Clancy told the Baltimore Sun, in a 1992 interview, "I've been lucky."
Clancy is survived by his wife, Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, and an ex-wife, Wanda Clancy.
> See all of Tom Clancy's books
> Read the Baltimore Sun obituary
> Visit his website, TomClancy.com