05
Nov
08

In Passing… Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

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Author and filmmaker Michael Crichton has passed on. Known for mixing sci-fi and medicine in his novels and films such as “Timeline,” “The Andromeda Strain,” and “Jurassic Park,” Crichton began his career not in literature but in medicine. In 1964 he was an undergrad at Harvard College and earned his graduate degree from Harvard Med School in 1969. While in med school he began writing under the pen names of John Lang and Jeffrey Hudson. This would eventually payoff with the first book released under his name, “The Andromeda Strain.”

 

With the success of “The Andromeda Strain” (the book as well as the movie) Crichton ventured into Hollywood. His first film movie was, “Westworld.” In the future at an amusement park called Delos there are androids that are like humans in every way possible, except they’re not supposed to harm human beings. Until now. Directed and written by Crichton, “Westworld” became a sci-fi staple with a sequel and proposed TV show. From there Crichton directed “Coma” (based on the Robin Cook novel), “The Great Train Robbery” with Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland, “Looker” with Albert Finney, and “Runaway” with Tom Selleck and Kirstie Alley. I recommend all these movies.

 

But Hollywood had burnt Crichton out, and he was much happier writing. In between films he released the novels, “Eaters of the Dead,” “Congo,” “Sphere,” and “Jurassic Park.” In the early Nineties Steven Spielberg got permission to direct “Jurassic Park,” and Crichton was back in the Hollywood game again, this time he keeping the rights for movies based on his novels. However, he did co-write the screenplay to “Twister” as well as created the hit NBC show, “ER.”

 

Crichton passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 4 in L.A. from complications with cancer. He was 66.

 

Thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends.

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