Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton was a writer and filmmaker, best known as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of ER. His latest posthumous novel, MICRO, was released on November 22, 2011.

Crichton graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College, received his MD from Harvard Medical School, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researching public policy with Jacob Bronowski. He taught courses in anthropology at Cambridge University and writing at MIT. Crichton’s 2004 bestseller, State of Fear, acknowledged the world was growing warmer, but challenged extreme anthropogenic warming scenarios. He predicted future warming at 0.8 degrees C. (His conclusions have been widely misstated.)
Crichton’s interest in computer modeling went back forty years. His multiple-discriminant analysis of Egyptian crania, carried out on an IBM 7090 computer at Harvard, was published in the Papers of the Peabody Museum in 1966. His technical publications included a study of host factors in pituitary chromophobe adenoma, in Metabolism, and an essay on medical obfuscation in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Crichton’s first bestseller, The Andromeda Strain, was published while he was still a medical student. He later worked full time on film and writing. One of the most popular writers in the world, he has sold over 200 million books. His books have been translated into thirty-eight languages and thirteen have been made into films.

He had a lifelong interest in computers. His feature film Westworld was the first to employ computer-generated special effects back in 1973. Crichton’s pioneering use of computer programs for film production earned him a Technical Achievement Academy Award in 1995.

Crichton won an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Writer’s Guild of America Award for ER. In 2002, a newly discovered ankylosaur was named for him: Crichtonsaurus bohlini. He is survived by his wife Sherri, his daughter Taylor and his son, John Michael.

CRICHTON, (John) Michael. American. Born in Chicago, Illinois, October 23, 1942. Died in Los Angeles, November 4, 2008. Educated at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, A.B. (summa cum laude) 1964 (Phi Beta Kappa). Henry Russell Shaw Travelling Fellow, 1964-65. Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at Cambridge University, England, 1965. Graduated Harvard Medical School, M.D. 1969; post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, La Jolla, California 1969-1970. Visiting Writer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.

Awards: Recipient of Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award, 1968 (“A Case of Need”, written under pseudonym Jeffery Hudson); and 1980 (“The Great Train Robbery”). Association of American Medical Writers Award, 1970 (“Five Patients”); Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Technical Achievement Award, 1995 (“for pioneering computerized motion picture budgeting and scheduling”); George Foster Peabody Award (for “ER”); Writer’s Guild of America Award, Best Long Form Television Script of 1995 (for “ER”) Emmy, Best Dramatic Series, 1996 (for “ER”). Ankylosaur named Crichtonsaurus bohlini, 2002.

Associations: Member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Author’s Guild, Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, P.E.N. America Center, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa. Board of Directors, International Design Conference at Aspen, 1985-91; Board of Trustees, Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, La Jolla, 1986-91. Board of Overseers, Harvard University, 1990-96. Board of Directors, Drug Strategies, 1994-, Author’s Guild Council, 1995-, Board of Directors, Gorilla Foundation, 2002-, Board of Trustees, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2006-

References: Contemporary Authors, 1971-; Who’s Who in America, 1974-; Current Biography, April 1976; Film Encyclopedia, 1979-;
International Motion Picture Almanac, 1996; International Television & Video Almanac, 1996.

In Memoriam

Best-selling author Michael Crichton died unexpectedly in Los Angeles Tuesday, November 4, 2008 after a courageous and private battle against cancer.

While the world knew him as a great story teller who challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us — and entertained us all while doing so — his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, son John Michael, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes. He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget.

Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand.

He will be profoundly missed by those whose lives he touched, but he leaves behind the greatest gifts of a thirst for knowledge, the desire to understand, and the wisdom to use our minds to better our world.

“Michael’s talent out-scaled 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. 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.” — Director and Film Producer Steven Spielberg

“Michael Crichton was an extraordinary man. Brilliant, funny, erudite, gracious, exceptionally inquisitive and always thoughtful. No lunch with Michael lasted less than three hours and no subject was too prosaic or obscure to attract his interest. Sexual politics, medical and scientific ethics, anthropology, archaeology, economics, astronomy, astrology, quantum physics and molecular biology were all regular topics of conversation.” — ER Executive Producer John Wells

“A modern-day Renaissance man. He was a physician, writer, director and producer — few people have done so many things so well. As creator and producer of NBC’s ER, he helped change the face of televised drama.” — NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker

“He was a nice man, and he died too young — too young.” — Ray Bradbury

“Michael Crichton was the original creator of ER. He really based ER on his life as a young medical doctor. Michael was always really proud of the fact he had created something and passed it on. He was the starter of it all. He will be greatly missed.” — Star of ER Anthony Edwards

Works

Novels
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, Knopf, 1969
THE TERMINAL MAN, Knopf, 1972
THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, Knopf, 1975
EATERS OF THE DEAD, Knopf, 1976
CONGO, Knopf, 1980
SPHERE, Knopf, 1987
JURASSIC PARK, Knopf, 1990
RISING SUN, Knopf, 1992
DISCLOSURE, Knopf, 1994
THE LOST WORLD, Knopf, 1995
AIRFRAME, Knopf, 1996
TIMELINE, Knopf, 1999
PREY, Harper Collins, 2002
STATE OF FEAR, Harper Collins, 2004
NEXT, Harper Collins, 2006
PIRATE LATITUDES, Harper Collins, 2009
MICRO, Harper Collins, 2011

Non-Fiction
FIVE PATIENTS: The Hospital Explained, Knopf, 1970
JASPER JOHNS, Abrams, 1977
ELECTRONIC LIFE, Knopf, 1983
TRAVELS, Knopf, 1988
JASPER JOHNS (revised edition), Abrams, 1994

Under Pseudonym:
ODDS ON by John Lange, 1966
SCRATCH ONE by John Lange, 1967
EASY GO by John Lange, 1968
A CASE OF NEED by Jeffery Hudson, 1968
THE VENOM BUSINESS by John Lange, 1969
ZERO COOL by John Lange, 1969
DEALING: OR THE BERKLEY TO BOSTON FORTY-BRICK LOST BAG BLUES by Michael Douglas, 1970
DRUG OF CHOICE by John Lange, 1970
GRAVE DESCEND by John Lange, 1970
BINARY by John Lange, 1972
A CASE OF NEED Reissued by Michael Crichton, 1993

Published Screenplays
WESTWORLD, Bantam Books, 1975
TWISTER (with Anne-Marie Martin), Ballantine Books, 1996

Films
PURSUIT, ABC Movie of the Week, 1972. (Director)
WESTWORLD, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1973. (Writer/Director)
COMA, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1978. (Writer/Director)
THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, United Artists, 1979. (Writer/Director)
LOOKER, The Ladd Company, 1981. (Writer/Director)
RUNAWAY, Tri-Star Pictures, 1984. (Writer/Director)
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, Columbia Pictures, 1989. (Director)
JURASSIC PARK, Universal, 1993 (Co-writer)
RISING SUN, Twentieth Century Fox, 1993 (Co-writer)
DISCLOSURE, Warner Brothers, 1994 (Co-producer)
TWISTER, Warner Brothers/Universal, 1996 (Co-writer, Co-producer)
SPHERE, Warner Brothers, 1998 (Co-producer)
13TH WARRIOR, Touchstone, 1999 (Co-producer)

Other Films From Crichton’s Books
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, Universal, 1971
THE CAREY TREATMENT, MGM, 1972
DEALING: OR THE BERKLEY TO BOST0N FORTY-BRICK LOST BAG BLUES, Warner Bros, 1972
THE TERMINAL MAN, Warner Bros, 1974
CONGO, Paramount, 1995
LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK II, Universal, 1997
JURASSIC PARK III, Universal, 2001
TIMELINE, Paramount, 2003
JURASSIC WORLD, Universal, 2015

Television
ER, NBC, 1994 Creator, (co-exec. producer)
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, Syfy, 2008
WESTWORLD, HBO, 2015

Computer Games
AMAZON, Tellarium, 1982
TIMELINE, Eidos, 2000