Michael Crichton Passes Away (1942-2008)

The best-selling author, screenwriter, and director died Tuesday.

Randall Michelson/WireImage.com

Best-selling author, screenwriter, and director Michael Crichton has passed away at the age of 66. The medical doctor-turned-filmmaker was best known for writing techno-thrillers (The Andromeda Strain, Westworld, Jurassic Park) and for creating the award-winning medical drama ER, now in its 15th and final season.

According to reports, Crichton died suddenly Tuesday in Los Angeles after a private battle with cancer. In a message posted to his official website, representatives of Crichton's family released a statement, excerpted below:

"While the world knew him as a great story teller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us -- and entertained us all while doing so -- his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes. He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget."

Perhaps best known for writing best-selling science fiction novels like The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Sphere, Rising Sun, Jurassic Park and its sequel, The Lost World (all of which were adapted into big-budget blockbusters), Crichton also wrote original screenplays and directed his own films. His 1973 science fiction-western Westworld (90 percent on the Tomatometer), directed from his own script, remains Crichton's best-reviewed film to date. His next two directorial efforts, 1978's Coma (76 percent, adapted and directed from a novel by Robin Cook) and 1979's The Great Train Robbery (78 percent, adapted and directed from his own novel), also rank among the best films written by Crichton or adapted from any of his works, ranking above films directed by the likes of Oscar-winner Robert Wise (The Andromeda Strain), Barry Levinson (Sphere), Frank Marshall (Congo), Philip Kaufman (Rising Sun), Jan de Bont (Twister), and John McTiernan (The 13th Warrior, based on his novel Eaters of the Dead).

At the time of his death, two new projects based on Crichton's works were rumored to be in development: Jurassic Park IV and Westworld, a remake to be scripted by Billy Ray (Volcano, Flightplan).

Head over to Michael Crichton's Tomatometer page for a detailed filmography and more.

Comments

Oz_79

Ted Osborn

Wow! RIP, Mr. Crichton...really enjoyed your books and movies.

Nov 5 - 12:03 PM

chasetinnell

chase tinnell

A Great Author, Director, and Screenwriter. Ive grown up with his books and movies my whole life, a very sad day. He will be missed.

Nov 5 - 12:05 PM

Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato

I remember poring over Jurassic Park and Congo and Sphere as a kid, and Andromeda Strain in particular stayed with me the first time I watched it. But I do wonder what happened over the years...his works seemed to get cheesier and more befitting a telefilm/direct to video flick than major motion picture.

Nov 5 - 12:08 PM

Mike W.

Mike Wendt

wow that was really respectful to his legacy Ms. Yamato

Nov 5 - 01:12 PM

GRIZ

thomas griswold

RIP sir, you will be missed! Jurassic Park changed my life.

Nov 5 - 12:54 PM

GRIZ

thomas griswold

RIP sir, you will be missed! Jurassic Park changed my life.

Nov 5 - 12:54 PM

HyperionChild

Warren John

I remember seeing "The Andromeda Strain" as a child, and then reading the novel as a teenager. The novel and movie were both pivotal in developing my appreciation for Speculative Fiction.
This news came as a real shock....didn't even know he was ill....I saw him being interviewed a couple of months ago on Glen Beck's CNN Program (before Beck lift CNN) talking about Global Warming and his "Next" book.
Rest In Piece to Michael Crichton and condolences to his family.

Nov 5 - 01:12 PM

Mike W.

Mike Wendt

wow that was really respectful to his legacy Ms. Yamato

Nov 5 - 01:12 PM

HyperionChild

Warren John

My mistake....he was discussing "State Of Fear", not "Next"

Nov 5 - 01:16 PM

Eat.Before.We.Eat.You

Derek Ornee

Every Crichton book I've ever read has had an awful ending. When I got finished with Sphere, I actually yelled out, "OH, COME ON! WHAT THE @%&# WAS THAT?!?!?!?" I don't mean to kick the guy while he's down (and by down I mean, you know, six feet under), I just thought I'd make known my contempt for his endings. They suck.

Nov 5 - 01:51 PM

blattman

Mike Greenblatt

I loved everyone of his novels. As for Westworld, it still works in todays movie standards. His passing will be noticed. Sigh!

Nov 5 - 01:54 PM

astrangefish

Andrew Strange

Jen, although of course you are entiltled to your opinion, i have to say that there never has been/never will be be a writer, director, actor etc who ONLY produces excellent work. Occasionallly though, there are those who have produced MANY excellent works and are/will always be giants in their field, of which Michael Crichton is definately one.

Nov 5 - 02:02 PM

ZiGyStRdUsT

Carlos Monino

Jen was only pointing out that he was trending towards lesser works in the latter part of his career, which is a fair statement. She wasn't belittling the other stuff Crichton did and she didn't say that it's possible to come out with quality work 100 percent of the time.

Nov 5 - 02:30 PM

nate2709

Nate 2709

Jurassic Park is one of the most enjoyable things I've ever read, I still remember how excited I was for the movie to come out back in '93. I'll say this though, even the genius of Steven Spielberg wasn't able to live up to the words put down by Michael Crichton. Rest in peace.

Nov 5 - 02:50 PM

mrshock13

Mr Shock

Wow, R.I.P. Mr. Crichton. Your books were absolutely phenomenal, and were some of the books that really got me into sci-fi. Your books made me think about preconceived notions of science and technology, and some of the possibilities of human civilization. You will be sorely missed.

Nov 5 - 02:53 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Where would we be without Jurrassic Park? R.I.P.

Nov 5 - 02:56 PM

indiefilmfan2

Brandon R

His books always had great entertainment value. I even liked Timeline, and the film was not that bad. Certainly better than its 11% tomatometer. You will be missed.

Nov 5 - 02:57 PM

Namtopia

Naomi Augustine

NoooooO!!!! I'm still grieving Arthur C Clarke! This is too much!!

Nov 5 - 04:23 PM

idratherbe8587

zach orwan

Jurassic Park is the reason I am a film major. RIP

Nov 5 - 04:23 PM

Roci

Roci Stone

If JP is your reason, you need a larger and more developed film sense. The picture was not as good as many think it was when viewed objectively. The story never worked, really and was glossed over by computer-assisted mumbo jumbo. If you want a better, more solid reference for yourself and MC, I suggest Andromeda Strain. It was a far better story and the effects work (for it's day) was excellent. with JP, you take away the effects and there is no picture. Oy Vey, what do they teach in film schools these days anyhow??

Roci

Nov 7 - 12:53 AM

Dachshund96

Alpha Z

First book I read from M.C. was The Andromeda Strain. I enjoyed his books because they are very technical in detail and pretty fascinating. Thanks for the good stories.

Nov 5 - 04:32 PM

hh

Henry Ham

JP was the first vhs my parents ever bought. I remember we bought it at Costco and I was super excited.

The End.

Nov 5 - 04:51 PM

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