Born in Maryland in 1947, Tom Clancy was an American author best known for his espionage, military science and technological thrillers. Clancy worked as an insurance broker before writing his first novel, The Hunt for Red October, in 1984. Ten of Clancy's books earned No. 1 rankings on The New York Times' best-seller list. More than 50 million copies of his books have been printed, and four have been made into movies. Clancy died on October 1, 2013, at age 66.
Early Life and 'The Hunt for Red October'
Famed novelist and lifelong military technology buff Tom Clancy was born Thomas Leo Clancy Jr. on April 12, 1947, in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Loyola Blakefield, a Catholic, all-boys' school in Towson, Maryland, before enrolling at Loyola College in Baltimore, where he studied literature.
Clancy worked as an insurance broker before writing his first novel, The Hunt for Red October, in 1984. The book, which told the story of a Russian submarine crew's defection, made The New York Times' best-seller list after President Ronald Reagan openly praised it. Clancy's crafting of plausible military scenarios in the novel was so realistic that, almost immediately after its release, he became a favorite of the United States military. Some of his books even became required reading at U.S. military academies.
Clancy dined with presidents; admirals and generals regularly gave him access to ships, subarines and aircraft; and Pentagon officials provided him material for upcoming projects.
Best-Seller Status Continues
Tom Clancy would see 10 of his books earn No. 1 rankings on The New York Times' best-seller list during his lifetime. In addition to The Hunt for Red October, his published works include Red Storm Rising (1986), Patriot Games (1987), Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988), Clear and Present Danger (1989), The Sum of All Fears (1991), Without Remorse (1993), Debt of Honor (1994), Executive Orders (1996) and Rainbow Six (1998).
More than 50 million copies of Clancy's books have been printed, and four have been adapted into major films: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears, which debuted on the big screen in 1990, 1992, 1994 and 2002, respectively.
In 1996, Clancy founded Red Storm Entertainment to create and market multimedia computer games based on his stories. Its first game, Politika, was released in November 1997. (Red Storm Entertainment was later purchased by French video game publisher Ubisoft Entertainment.)
In February 1998, Clancy announced plans to purchase the Minnesota Vikings at a price of nearly $200 million. The deal ultimately fell through for undisclosed reasons, however.
In 1999, Clancy partnered with Chuck Horner, general and commander of the Desert Storm air offensive, to write Every Man a Tiger, a real-life account of the Persian Gulf War from the top commander's vantage point.
Later Years and Legacy
In 2002, Clancy was ranked No. 10 on Forbes' "Celebrity 100" list of top income earners for that year.
Clancy died on October 1, 2013, in a Baltimore, Maryland, hospital. He was 66 years old. At the time of his death, the author's net worth was reported at nearly $300 million. According to reports, prior to his death, Clancy was working on a new novel, Command Authority, which is slated for a December 2013 release.
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