Tom Clancy, the highly prolific author of 17 number one bestselling novels, passed away Tuesday at the age of 66.
Clancy’s most famous books are adrenaline-fueled tales that center around intelligence, military, terrorism and espionage, and have made him one of America’s best-known authors. More than 100 million copies of his books are in print.
Some of Clancy’s high-octane yarns were translated into extremely successful films like “The Hunt for Red October,” “Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger” and “The Sum of All Fears,” all of which center around the exploits of action hero Jack Ryan, Clancy’s most popular character.
Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck have all starred as Jack Ryan over the years. Chris Pine will star as Jack Ryan in the upcoming film reboot of the Ryan series titled “Jack Ryan: Shadow One,” which is set for a Christmas 2013 release. Jack Ryan films have earned a staggering worldwide box office of $788.3 million.
Clancy’s name extends even beyond the realm of bestselling books and blockbuster movies: many extremely popular video game series bear his signature. Series like “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six,” “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” and “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” have sold around 76 million copies.
Clancy is survived by an immense legacy. His books reinvigorated the espionage genre in the post-Cold War years and have influenced countless writers.
“Literature means a hundred years after you’re dead they make kids read you in high school,” Clancy told The New York Times in 1988. “I’m in the entertainment business … That’s a good enough purpose for any man.”
But with his latest book “Command Authority” due to hit bookshelves posthumously on December 3, and the new Jack Ryan film and a host of videogames soon to be released, the prospect of Clancy’s brand of entertainment thriving long after his death may be more likely than the author ever could have guessed.