At the young age of 66 Tom Clancy died on October 1, 2013. He will be missed.
The writer of such thrillers as The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games in 1987, The Cardinal of the Kremlin in 1988 and Clear and Present Danger and many others – including the soon to be released Command Authority (December 2013, with Mark Greaney).
Clancy died after a brief illness at Johns Hopkins Hospital, near his Baltimore, Maryland home. The cause of death was not released. Clancy is survived by his wife, Alexandra; their daughter and four children from a previous marriage to Wanda King.
Tom Clancy will be remembered for many things – books; characters such as Jack Ryan and John Clark; games; the universes that he created combing gaming and fiction with heavy doses of his characteristic attention to military and intelligence detail and yes, for those that like to watch –movies.
He is credited for revitalizing the ‘spy’ genre. Clancy in fact took it to a whole new level. There were rumors and accusations of his having inside knowledge. In a 1986 interview, 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?’ ”
All Clancy’s knowledge came from technical manuals, interviews with experts and books on military matters. He spent time on military bases, visited the Pentagon and dined with military leaders but Clancy did not want to know any classified information.
“I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can,” Clancy said in an interview. “I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real — that’s the spooky part.”
Mr. Clancy’s debut book, The Hunt for Red October (1984), is cited as one of the greatest genre novels ever written. Clancy introduced an espionage thriller dense with technical details about weapons, procedures and intelligence agencies. He made it all seem real. He did it all while telling a good and captivating story. It became a best seller when President Ronald Reagan, who had been handed a copy, called it “my kind of yarn.”
Being handed a copy of Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders, soon after it first came out, I was a skeptic. I thought that the success of the movie was influencing the gift giver, but it was summer so I gave it a read. I, like millions of others, became a fan. Travelling back and forth until I had read all of his novels and waited for the release of new ones with some anticipation.
Yes we will look forward to the release of “Command Authority,” and might even give the movie prequel about Jack Ryan’s pre-C.I.A. days, “Jack Ryan,” will be released on Christmas and stars Chris Pine as Ryan a look see.
Clancy said none of his success came easily. “I tell them you learn to write the same way you learn to play golf,” he once said. “You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired — it’s hard work.”
RIP Tom Clancy.