Working inspires inspiration. Keep working. If you succeed, keep working. If you fail, keep working. If you are interested, keep working. If you are bored, keep working. —Michael Crichton

Imagine creating the nation’s number one book, number one movie, and number one television show all in the same year. Michael Crichton (1942–2008) achieved this twice: first in 1995 with The Lost World, Congo, and ER, respectively; and again in 1996 with Airframe, Twister, and ER.1 Twenty-five years later, no other writer has accomplished this.

Hailed as the “Father of the Techno Thriller,” Michael Crichton built a flourishing career as a novelist, screenwriter, director, and producer that lasted more than forty years. During this time, he completed eighteen major novels—most of which were instant best sellers—developed more than a dozen into blockbuster films, and collaborated with some of Hollywood’s greatest artists.2 By the time of his death at age sixty-six, his novels had sold more than two hundred million copies. Today, he is still best known around the world for writing Jurassic Park.3

How It All Began

Born John Michael Crichton in Chicago as the oldest of four children, he grew up on Long Island. He developed an interest in writing at an early age, inspired by his father, who was a journalist for Advertising Age.4 Crichton recalled, “I was the weird kid who wrote extra assignments the teacher didn’t ask for. I just did it because I liked writing so much. I was tall [Crichton grew to 6 foot 9] and gangly and awkward and I needed to escape, I guess.”5 By age fourteen, he had written his first published piece in the New York Times, which was about his trip to Sunset Crater, a volcanic national monument in Arizona. . . .

1. Sam Kashner, “When Michael Crichton Reigned over Pop Culture, from ER to Jurassic Park,” Vanity Fair, February 13, 2017, https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/02/michael-crichton-reign-over-pop-culture-jurassic-park-westworld.

2. “Michael Crichton,” TCM, https://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/person/41108%7C0/Michael-Crichton/#biography (accessed April 17, 2021); David Smith, “King of the Techno-Thriller,” The Guardian, December 3, 2006, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/dec/03/sciencefictionfantasyandhorror.michaelcrichton; Kashner, “When Michael Crichton Reigned over Pop Culture.”

3. “Michael Crichton,” Penguin Random House, https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/6012/michael-crichton/ (accessed April 17, 2021).

4. William Grimes, “Michael Crichton, Author of Thrillers, Dies at 66,” New York Times, November 5, 2008, https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/06/books/06crichton.html; The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Michael Crichton,” Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Michael-Crichton (accessed April 17, 2021).

5. Smith, “King of the Techno-Thriller.”

6. “Michael Crichton,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Crichton#Early_life (accessed April 16, 2021).

7. Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Michael Crichton”; Smith, “King of the Techno-Thriller.”

8. Smith, “King of the Techno-Thriller.”

9. Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Michael Crichton.”

10. “Michael Crichton,” Wikipedia.

11. John Noble Wilford, “For Michael Crichton, Medicine Is for Writing,” New York Times, June 15, 1970, https://www.nytimes.com/1970/06/15/archives/for-michael-crichton-medicine-is-for-writing.html.

12. “A Case of Need,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Case_of_Need (accessed April 17, 2021).

13. Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Michael Crichton.”

14. Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Michael Crichton”; Kate B., “Michael Crichton,” Killer Reads, December 1, 2009, https://www.killerreads.com/michael-crichton/.

15. Grimes, “Michael Crichton, Author of Thrillers, Dies at 66.”

16. Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Michael Crichton.”

17. Kashner, “When Michael Crichton Reigned over Pop Culture.”

18. Kashner, “When Michael Crichton Reigned over Pop Culture.”

19. Kashner, “When Michael Crichton Reigned over Pop Culture,.”

20. Kashner, “When Michael Crichton Reigned over Pop Culture.”

21. Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Michael Crichton.”

22. “Michael Crichton,” Wikipedia.

23 “Michael Crichton,” Wikipedia.

24. “Michael Crichton Interview (1992),” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh5qZJ_Li34 (accessed April 18, 2021).

25. “Michael Crichton Interview.

26. “Michael Crichton Interview on ‘Disclosure’ (1994),” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzm0yYTvkqI (accessed April 18, 2021).

27. “Michael Crichton Interview on ‘Disclosure.’

28. David B. Sandalow, “Michael Crichton and Global Warming,” Brookings, January 28, 2005, https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/michael-crichton-and-global-warming/.

29. Michael Crichton, State of Fear (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 711.

30. Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park (New York: Ballantine Books, 2015), 413.

31. Michael Crichton, “Environmentalism as Religion,” September 15, 2003, https://quixoteslaststand.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/crichton_3.pdf (accessed April 18, 2021).

32. Kashner, “When Michael Crichton Reigned over Pop Culture.”

33. Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Michael Crichton.”

34. “Micro (novel),” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_(novel) (accessed April 18, 2021).

35. “Michael Crichton,” Wikipedia.

36. Matt Donnely, “Michael Crichton Estate Signs with Range Media Partners, Forging Crichtonsun Content Partnership,” Variety, December 14, 2020, https://variety.com/2020/film/news/michael-crichton-crichtonsun-range-media-partners-1234852975/.

37. Margot Adler, “For Sale: Michael Crichton’s Pop Art Collection,” NPR, May 9, 2010, https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126608315.

38. “Michael Crichton’s Daughter Speaks Up about Sale of Her Father’s Art Collection,” Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2010, https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/03/michael-crichtons-daughter-addresses-sale-of-her-fathers-art-collection.html.

39. Kashner, “When Michael Crichton Reigned over Pop Culture.”

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