I was shocked this week to learn of the death of Michael Crichton, 66, from cancer. Thirteen of Crichton's books became films, including the blockbuster hit, Jurassic Park. The Harvard medical school graduate also published under pseudonyms, John Lange and Jeffery Hudson. His Jeffery Hudson novel, A Case of Need, won the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel, 1969. He created the hit TV show, ER, and directed or wrote several movies, including Coma, a Robin Cook bestseller.
As his Wikipedia biography states, "In December 1994, he achieved the unique distinction of having the #1 movie (Jurassic Park), the #1 TV show (ER), and the #1 book (Disclosure, atop the paperback list)."
Crichton was rumored to have written 10,000 words a day at his peak. "He wrote seven days a week and would hide himself away in a sparsely furnished room to minimise distraction, eating the same thing for lunch every day . . . He would break off from his labours only to take exercise or to see his family. As each work progressed, he would wake up earlier and earlier until towards the end of each book he would be at his computer at 2am."
His books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide. As Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg commented, “Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place.”