Born on October 23, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, Michael Crichton was many things rolled into one; an accomplished and best-selling author, screenwriter, film producer and director. As a science fiction writer, he has authored books in thriller and medical fiction genres. With over 200 million copies of his book copies sold worldwide as well as many film adaptations, Crichton was indeed an accomplished writer.
His career began while he was enrolled at Harvard Medical School; this was when he started writing under the pen name John Lange and Jeffrey Hudson. Crichton’s first novel was titled ‘Odds On’ and published in 1966 under the pseudonym John Lange. In ‘Odds On’, a paperback novel comprised of 215 pages, Crichton describes a scientifically planned robbery in an hotel on Costa Brava. In 1967, he published ‘Scratch One’. The novel tells the story of a handsome and charming lawyer named Roger Carr. When Carr is sent to France, he was mistaken for a hired assassin despite his connection in political circles. His life is jeopardized.
Crichton took his craft further in 1968 by publishing two novels: ‘A Case of Need’ and ‘Easy Go’. ‘Easy Go’ chronicles the live of an Egyptologist who came across a hidden message while working. On the other hand, ‘A Case of Need’ was a medical novel where a pathologist was had to investigate an illegal abortion carried out by his friend. This novel earned him an Edgar Award the following year.
With an award in his kitty, it appeared Crichton was spurred on to write more as he churned out three novels the same year he got the award. ‘Zero Cool’, ‘The Andromeda Strain’ and ‘The Venom Business’ were all published in 1969. Out of this three, ‘The Andromeda Strain’ appeared to be the most successful and probably the most important novel in Crichton’s career. The novel turned out to be a best-seller established him as a best-selling author and was later adapted into a movie in 1971.
Just like 1969, he published another three novels in 1970 namely; ‘Drug of Choice’, ‘Grave Descend’ and ‘Dealing’. The last 1970 novel. ‘Descend’, was written together with his brother Douglas Crichton under the pen name ‘Michael Douglas’. While ‘Grave Descend’ earned him an Edgar Award nomination in 1971, the other book co-authored with Douglas Crichton was adapted to the big screen.
His 1972 novels ‘Binary’ and ‘The Terminal Man’ also lent credence to his dexterity with the pen. Although ‘The Terminal Man’ was later adapted into a film which was released in 1974, both movie and novel came under criticism from different quarters.
Crichton made up for this in 1975 when he published a best-selling nineteenth century historical novel titled ‘The Great Train Robbery’. The movie recreated ‘The Great Gold Robbery of 1855’ and was later adapted into a movie in 1979. The movie received the ‘Edgar Allan Poe Award’ for Best Motion Picture and was also nominated for Best Cinematography Award.
Michael Crichton went on to publish several other great novels, many of which were adapted into movies. He went on to publish ‘Jurassic Park’ in 1990. The novel, which was later adapted into a book became one of the highest-grossing films in history.
Crichton’s books have been translated into over 36 languages, With several best-selling novels, a good number of them adapted into movies, Michael Crichton will go down in history as one of the most respected best-selling authors America has ever produced.
Crichton died on November 4, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.