Michael Crichton Biography
Writer and filmmaker, Michael Crichton (Oct 23, 1942 - Nov 4, 2008), best
known as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of ER,
was born in Chicago and grew up on Long Island, New York.
Apparently, his writing career began with turning out school assignments for
classmates. At Harvard he switched his major from English to anthropology,
having fooled a professor he believed was grading him unfairly by submitting an
essay by George Orwell under his own name, which the professor awarded a low B.
He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College, received his MD from Harvard
Medical School, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for
Biological Studies. He taught courses in anthropology at Cambridge University
and writing at MIT.
His interest in computer modeling goes back forty years to his multiple-discriminant
analysis of Egyptian crania, carried out on an IBM 7090 computer at Harvard,
published in the Papers of the Peabody Museum in 1966.
He supported himself through his studies by writing novels - publishing seven
thrillers under the pen name John Lange between 1966 and 1970 - a name that he
chose because Lange means 'long' in German and Crichton stood 6ft, 9in in his
socks. Able to write 10,000 words a day while maintaining his studies, he
also wrote at least one novel, A Case of Need, under the name Jeffrey
Hudson (a famous English dwarf in the 17th century) which won the Edgar award
for best novel from the Mystery Writers of America.
His first book written under his own name, The Andromeda Strain, was
published while he was still a medical student, it became a bestseller. He later
worked full time on writing books and films. One of the most popular writers in
the world, his books have been translated into at least thirty-six languages,
selling more than 150 million copies world wide, and at least thirteen have been
made into movies. "He was the greatest at blending science with big technical
concepts," said the Jurassic Park director, Steven Spielberg, a long-time
Crichton won an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Writer's Guild of America Award for ER.
In 2002, a newly discovered ankylosaur was named for him: Crichtonsaurus bohlini.
He achieved significant notoriety in 2004 with the publication of State Of
Fear, which argued that attribution of global warming to human activity was
speculation, not fact. Crichton's book was hailed by President George Bush, and
he came under fire for accepting the American Petroleum Geologists journalism
He died at the age of 66 in Los Angeles on November 4, 2008 after a long and
private battle with cancer. The final book he published before his death
was Next. His final novel, due to be published in late 2008 has
been postponed. He is survived by his fifth wife, the actor Sherri
Alexander, and his daughter by his fourth marriage.
This biography was last updated on 11/10/2008.
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