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Tom Clancy, the man behind the books, video games, and films bearing his name, dies at 66

best selling author and branding genius tom clancy dead at 66 novel
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Best-selling author Tom Clancy, the man responsible for several movie, video games, and of course literary franchises, has died at the age of 66. The cause of death is currently unknown.

Clancy carved out a niche for himself in the military and espionage fiction genre, starting with his first novel The Hunt for Red October. That book spawned a film starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, and introduced the character of Jack Ryan. Ryan went on to appear as the primary protagonist in eight of Clancy’s novels before becoming a supporting character in several more novels, including five starring Ryan’s son. Chris Pine (Star Trek, Unstoppable) is currently set to take over the role (and possible franchise) in the upcoming Jack Ryan: Shadow One. It will be a reboot of the series that includes Red OctoberPatriot Games (1992), Clear and Present Danger (1994), and The Sum of All Fears (2002). 

Thomas Leo Clancy was born in Baltimore, MD on April 12, 1947. He attended Loyola College in Baltimore, where he joined the school’s R.O.T.C. program, but was forced to quit due to poor eyesight. After college he worked in insurance, before eventually running an independent insurance agency.

In 1984, Clancy sold his first manuscript, The Hunt red October, to the only publisher he sent it to, the Naval Institute Press. It was the first original fiction the company had ever bought. The manuscript sold for $1.3 million, and Clancy signed a $3 million advance for his next three books.

Along with his own novels, Clancy helped to create several other entertainment properties. Clancy along with author, psychiatrist, and former State Department official Steve Pieczenik created several splinter universes that retained the military and espionage sensibilities as well as the Tom Clancy name, but were not written by Clancy himself. The “Tom Clany’s Op-Center” property released 12 books, “Tom Clancy’s Net Force” produced 10 books, “Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers” for young adults produced 18, and “Tom Clancy’s Power Play” produced eight. There have also been several novels based on video games created under the Tom Clancy banner. 

In 1996 Clancy co-founded Red Storm Entertainment, a video game developer that has gone on to produce dozens of games on multiple platforms, all bearing the Tom Clancy name. Ubisoft purchased the studio in August 2000 and later renamed it Ubisoft Red Storm. This year saw the release of Ubi Montreal’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, while 2012 saw Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, a group effort that included Red Storm, and Ubi Singapore’s Ghost Recon Online. Red Storm is currently working on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Patriots, a series which traces its roots back to Clancy’s 1998 novel, Rainbow Six.

Clancy’s final novel, Command Authority (co-written with Mark Greaney), is due out in December.

Ryan Fleming
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ryan Fleming is the Gaming and Cinema Editor for Digital Trends. He joined the DT staff in 2009 after spending time covering…
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