Tom Clancy, a best-selling author known for his military thrillers and weird eyebrows, is dead today at age 66, according to the New York Times. He died in a hospital in Baltimore, the cause of death still hasn’t been released. Clancy novels that became movies include The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears, and he also worked on video games Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell, and Ghost Recon. I never read any of his books, but I watched the hell out of some Patriot Games on cable. Or maybe it was Clear and Present Danger? All I know is Harrison Ford shouted at some people and it was awesome.
Seventeen of his novels were No. 1 New York Times best sellers, including his most recent, “Threat Vector,” which was released in December 2012.
Mr. Clancy was an insurance salesman when he sold his first novel, “The Hunt for Red October,” to the Naval Institute Press for only $5,000.
After the book’s publication in 1985, Mr. Clancy was praised for his mastery of technical details about Soviet submarines and weaponry. Even high-ranking members of the military took notice of the book’s apparent inside knowledge.
In an interview in 1986, Mr. Clancy said, “When I met Navy Secretary John Lehman last year, the first thing he asked me about the book was, ‘Who the hell cleared it?’ ” [NY Times]
Clancy maintained a nearly James Patterson-like pace, writing a novel every year or every other year. Probably his oddest was Debt of Honor, which actually detailed a terrorist attack that sounds a lot like 9/11, even though it was written in 1994:
A secret cabal of extreme nationalists gains control of Japan (having acquired some nuclear weapons), and start a war with the U.S. Ryan, now National Security Advisor, and Clark and Chavez, agents in Japan, help win the war. The Vice President resigns in a scandal, and the President appoints Ryan to replace him. A vengeful, die-hard Japanese airline pilot then crashes a jetliner into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress attended by most senior U.S. government officials, including the President. Ryan thus becomes the new President through succession.
Okay, so the guy was Japanese and it was the Capitol, not the Pentagon, but still.
In any case, RIP Tom Clancy. I don’t think anyone could come up with a name that sounds more like a guy that writes military thrillers than “Tom Clancy,” not even Tom Clancy.
[pic via Getty]