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©AP / Tom Clancy in 1992
© AP / Tom Clancy in 1992
Tom Clancy, 'Hunt for Red October' author, dead at 66

By Brent Lang

Tom Clancy, the author of several best-selling military thrillers including "The Hunt for Red October" and "Patriot Games," died Tuesday at a Baltimore hospital. He was 66.

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Clancy's publisher confirmed the news to the New York Times. A spokesman for the author's literary agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a career that spanned three decades, Clancy became one of the most successful figures in publishing. His name above a title was a calling card that conferred best-seller status on his espionage and military thrillers and inspired a dizzying array of tie-ins ranging from movies to video games. His books reveled in the technological details of spy-craft and weaponry, spending paragraphs recounting the various features of a nuclear submarine or a fighter plane,  for instance.

His most enduring creation may have been Jack Ryan, the patriotic and morally upright CIA analyst turned politician at the center of more than a dozen novels including "The Sum of All Fears" and "The Cardinal of the Kremlin." The character was notable because his life and ascent mirrored the tectonic changes taking place in American foreign policy throughout Clancy's writing career, as the country moved away from Cold War brinksmanship and turned its gaze to terrorist threats in the Middle East.

The character will appear once again in "Command Authority," an upcoming novel scheduled for release on Dec. 3 that finds Ryan returning to the hot spot where it all started and grappling with a new threat in Russia.

The printed page could not hold Ryan. His literary exploits inspired four big-screen adventures, with Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck all portraying the intelligence expert in commercially successful films like "Clear and Present Danger" and "The Sum of All Fears." "Jack Ryan: Shadow One," a fifth Ryan film starring Chris Pine and directed by Kenneth Branagh, opens in theaters this December.

In addition to films, Clancy lent his name to a series of popular video games such as "Splinter Cell" from game maker UbiSoft. He was also a part-time owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

A political conservative and prominent supporter of the National Rifle Association, Clancy made headlines when he blamed liberal lawmakers for gutting the CIA and indirectly causing the attacks on September 11.

"The CIA was gutted by people on the political left who don't like Intelligence operations ... and as a result of that, as an indirect result of that, we lost 5,000 citizens," the author told Bill O'Reilly during a FOX News appearance shortly after the attacks.

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Elmore Leonard, Writer of 'Justified,' 'Jackie Brown,' 'Get Shorty,' Dead at 87

Oct 2, 2013 7:55AM
R.I.P Tom Clancy, you were a great author and you will be extremely missed!
Oct 2, 2013 7:55AM
If there is one author I wish i would have met it wouldve been Clancy himself. its the end of splinter cell it looks like. read all of his splinter cell books. they were great! RIP TOM CLANCY. you will be missed by many in the book and video game world
Oct 2, 2013 7:59AM
Thank you Tom for giving us true American heroes in fiction and non-fiction. You will be missed.  Our elected officials should read your books to learn about honor in service to our country.  God Bless
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