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General information  

  • Real name : John Michael Crichton
  • Place of birth : Chicago
  • Date of birth : 23/10/1942
  • Place of death : Los Angeles
  • Date of death : 04/11/2008

Alias  

  • John Lange
  • Jeffery Hudson
  • Michael Douglas
  • Джон Ланг
  • Джеффри Хадсон
  • Crichton Michael

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Michael Crichton (1942)

John Michael Crichton

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  Summary  

John Michael Crichton (; rhymes with frighten; October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008), best known as Michael Crichton, was an American best-selling author, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted into films. In 1994, Crichton became the only creative artist ever to have works simultaneously charting at #1 in television, film, and book sales .

His literary works are usually based on the action genre and heavily feature technology. His novels epitomize the techno-thriller genre of literature, often exploring technology and failures of human interaction with it, especially resulting in catastrophes with biotechnology. Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background. He was the author of, among others, Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Travels, Sphere, Rising Sun, Disclosure, The Lost World, Airframe, Timeline, Prey, State of Fear, Next , Pirate Latitudes , and a final unfinished techno-thriller, Micro, published in November 2011.

  Biography  

 early life and education
John Michael Crichton was born in Chicago Illinois, to John Henderson Crichton, a journalist, and Zula Miller Crichton, on October 23, 1942. He was raised on Long Island, in Roslyn, New York, and had three siblings: two sisters, Kimberly and Catherine, and a younger brother, Douglas. Crichton showed a keen interest in writing from a young age and at the age of 14 had a column related to travel published in The New York Times. Crichton had always planned on becoming a writer and began his studies at Harvard College in 1960. During his undergraduate study in literature, he conducted an experiment to catch out a professor whom he believed to be giving him abnormally low marks and criticizing his literary style. Informing another professor of his suspicions, Crichton plagiarized a work by George Orwell and submitted it as his own. The paper was returned by his unwitting professor with a mark of "B−". His issues with the English department led Crichton to switch his course to biological anthropology as an undergraduate, obtaining his A.B. summa cum laude in 1964. He was also initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He went on to become the Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellow from 1964 to 1965 and Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1965.

Crichton later enrolled at Harvard Medical School when he began publishing work. By this time he had become unusually tall. By his own account, he was approximately tall in 1997. In reference to his height, while in medical school, he began writing novels under the pen names "John Lange" and "Jeffrey Hudson" ("Lange" is a surname in Germany, meaning "long", and Sir Jeffrey Hudson was a famous 17th-century dwarf in the court of Queen Consort Henrietta Maria of England). In "Travels", he recalls overhearing doctors discussing the flaws in his book "The Andromeda Strain", unaware that he was its author. "A Case of Need", written under the Hudson pseudonym, won him his first Edgar Award for Best Novel in 1969. He also co-authored "Dealing" with his younger brother Douglas under the shared pen name "Michael Douglas". The back cover of that book carried a picture, taken by their mother, of Michael and Douglas when very young.

Crichton graduated from Harvard, obtaining an M.D. in 1969, and undertook a post-doctoral fellowship study at the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, from 1969 to 1970.

At Harvard he developed the belief that all diseases, including heart attacks, are direct effects of a patient's state of mind. He later wrote: "We cause our diseases. We are directly responsible for any illness that happens to us." Eventually he came to believe in auras, astral projection, and clairvoyance.

In 1988, Crichton was a visiting writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 personal life
As an adolescent Crichton felt isolated because of his height (at 6'9"). As an adult he was acutely aware of his intellect which often left him feeling alienated from the people around him. During the 1970s and 1980s he consulted psychics and enlightenment gurus to make him feel more socially acceptable and to improve his karma. As a result of these experiences, Crichton practiced meditation throughout much of his life. Crichton was a workaholic. When drafting a novel which would typically take him six or seven weeks, Crichton withdrew completely to follow what he called "a structured approach" of ritualistic self-denial. As he neared writing the end of each book, he would rise increasingly earlier each day, meaning that he would sleep for less than four hours by going to bed at 10 pm and waking at 2 am. In 1992, Crichton was ranked among People magazine's 50 most beautiful people. He was a deist.

 Marriages and children

He married five times; four of the marriages ended in divorce. He was married to Suzanna Childs, Joan Radam (1965–1970), Kathleen St. Johns (1978–1980), and actress Anne-Marie Martin (1987–2003), the mother of his daughter Taylor Anne . At the time of his death, Crichton was married to Sherri Alexander, who was six months pregnant with their son. John Michael Todd Crichton was born on February 12, 2009.

 Intellectual property cases
In November 2006, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Crichton jokingly considered himself an expert in intellectual property law. He had been involved in several lawsuits with others claiming credit for his work. In 1985, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard Berkic v. Crichton, 761 F.2d 1289 . Plaintiff Ted Berkic wrote a screenplay called "Reincarnation Inc.," which he claims Crichton plagiarized for the movie Coma. The court ruled in Crichton's favor stating the works were not substantially similar. In 1996, Williams v. Crichton, 84 F.3d 581 , Geoffrey Williams claimed that Jurassic Park violated his copyright covering his dinosaur themed children's stories published in the late 1980s. The court granted summary judgment in favor of Crichton. In 1998, A United States District Court in Missouri heard the case of Kessler v. Crichton that actually went all the way to a jury trial, unlike the other cases. Plaintiff Stephen Kessler claimed the movie Twister was based on his work "Catch the Wind." It took the jury about 45 minutes to reach a verdict in favor of Crichton. After the verdict, Crichton refused to shake Kessler's hand. At the National Press Club in 2006, Crichton summarized his intellectual property legal problems by stating, "I always win."

 Illness and death
In accordance with the private way in which Crichton lived his life, his battle with throat cancer was not made public until his death. According to Crichton's brother Douglas, Crichton was diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2008. He was undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the time of his death. Crichton's physicians and family members had been expecting him to make a recovery. He unexpectedly died of the disease on November 4, 2008.
Michael's talent outscaled even his own dinosaurs of 'Jurassic Park.' He was the greatest at blending science with big theatrical concepts, which is what gave credibility to dinosaurs again walking the earth. In the early days, Michael had just sold 'The Andromeda Strain' to Robert Wise at Universal and I had recently signed on as a contract TV director there. My first assignment was to show Michael Crichton around the Universal lot. We became friends and professionally 'Jurassic Park,' 'ER,' and 'Twister' followed. Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place.

Crichton had an impressive collection of 20th century American art, which was auctioned by Christie's in May 2010.

 Unfinished novels
On April 6, 2009, Crichton's publisher, HarperCollins, announced the posthumous publication of two of his novels.
The first was Pirate Latitudes, found completed on his computer by his assistant after he died. This was the second of a two-novel deal that started with Next.

The other novel, titled Micro, is a techno-thriller that was released in November 2011. The novel explores the outer edges of new science and technology. The novel is based on Michael Crichton's notes and files, and was roughly a third of the way finished when he died. HarperCollins publisher Jonathan Burnham, and Crichton's agent Lynn Nesbit, looked for a co-writer to finish the novel. Ultimately, Richard Preston was chosen to complete the book.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Michael Crichton", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.