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'Red October' Novelist Tom Clancy Dies at 66
By Hillel Italie, AP National Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- In 1985, a year after the Cold War thriller "The Hunt for Red October" came out, Tom Clancy was invited to lunch at the White House, where he was questioned by Navy Secretary John Lehman.
Who, the secretary wanted to know, gave Clancy access to all that secret material?
Clancy, the best-selling novelist who died Tuesday in Baltimore at 66, insisted then, and after, that his information was strictly unclassified: books, interviews and papers that were easily accessed. Also, two submarine officers reviewed the final manuscript.
Government officials may have worried how Clancy knew that a Russian submarine spent only around 15 percent of its time at sea or how many SS-N-20 Seahawk missiles it carried.
But his extreme attention to technical detail earned him respect inside the intelligence community and beyond and helped make Clancy the most widely read and influential military novelist of his time, one who seemed to capture a shift in the country's mood away from the CIA misdeeds that came out in the 1970s to the heroic feats of Clancy's most famous creation, CIA analyst Jack Ryan.
Several of his novels, including "The Hunt for Red October," "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," were later made into blockbuster movies, with another, "Jack Ryan," set for release on Christmas.
"Fundamentally, I think of myself as a storyteller, not a writer," Clancy once said. "I think about the characters I've created, and then I sit down and start typing and see what they will do. There's a lot of subconscious thought that goes on. It amazes me to find out, a few chapters later, why I put someone in a certain place when I did. It's spooky."
A tall, trim figure given to wearing sunglasses that made him look like a fighter pilot, Clancy had such a sure grasp of defense technology and spycraft that many readers were convinced he served in the military. But his experience was limited to ROTC classes in college. Near-sightedness kept him out of active duty.
A political conservative who once referred to Ronald Reagan as "my president," Clancy broke through commercially during a tense period of the Cold War, and with the help of Reagan himself.
In 1982, he began working on "The Hunt for Red October," drawing inspiration from a real-life 1975 mutiny aboard a Soviet missile frigate. He sold the manuscript to the first publisher he tried, the Naval Institute Press, which had never bought original fiction.
In real life, the uprising was put down, but in Clancy's book, a Soviet submarine skipper hands the vessel over to the U.S. and defects.
Someone thought enough of the novel to give it to Reagan as a Christmas gift. The president quipped at a dinner that he was losing sleep because he couldn't put the book down - a statement Clancy later said helped put him on the New York Times best-seller list.
"What happened to me was pure dumb luck. I'm not the new Hemingway," Clancy later said in an interview with the American Movie Channel.
"Of course, fortune does favor the brave. In battle, you forgive a man anything except an unwillingness to take risks. Sometimes you have to put it on the line. What I did was take time away from how I earned my living. My wife gave me hell. `Why are you doing this?' But she doesn't complain anymore."
Clancy said his dream had been simply to publish a book, hopefully a good one, so that he would be in the Library of Congress catalog. His dreams were answered many times over.
His novels were dependable hits, his publisher estimating worldwide sales at more than 100 million copies.
Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Harrison Ford were among the actors who played Jack Ryan on screen. The upcoming movie stars Chris Pine with Kenneth Branagh directing. Keira Knightly plays his wife and Kevin Costner plays his mentor at the CIA.
He often played off - and sometimes anticipated - world events, as in the pre-9/11 paranoid thriller "Debt of Honor," in which a jumbo jet destroys the U.S. Capitol during a joint meeting of Congress.
In 1996, a year before President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky was revealed, Clancy's "Executive Orders" imagined a sex scandal that helped lead to Ryan's becoming president.
He started off writing about the Russians, but also told stories of drug cartels, Irish-British tensions and Islamic terrorism.
He also wrote nonfiction works on the military and even ventured into video games, including the best-selling "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier," "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction" and "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent."
His recent Jack Ryan novels were collaborations with Mark Greaney, including "Threat Vector" and a release scheduled for December, "Command Authority."
As of midday Wednesday, "Command Authority" ranked No. 35 on Amazon's best-seller list.
Born in Baltimore on April 12, 1947, to a mailman and his wife, Clancy entered Loyola College as a physics major but switched to English as a sophomore. He later said that he wasn't smart enough for the rigors of science, although he clearly mastered it in his fiction.
After school, he worked in an insurance office that had military clients. By the early 1980s he had written a piece about the MX missile system that was published by the Naval Institute. Boredom with his job led him to try writing fiction.
Clancy stayed close to home. He lived in rural Calvert County, Md., and in 1993 he joined a group of investors led by Baltimore lawyer Peter Angelos who bought the Baltimore Orioles.
Clancy also attempted to bring an NFL team to Baltimore in 1993 but later dropped out.
More Entertainment News
Last Update on March 11, 2014 07:08 GMT
"NON-STOP" - JULIANNE MOORE
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Here's something you may not have known about Julianne Moore: she's scared of the devil -- or as she puts it, "VERY scared of the devil." Moore says really good movies will play on fears like that, which is how her latest movie, "Non-Stop," works. It's about an air marshal who is trying to stay one step ahead of a killer on an airplane. Moore says the film's makers have turned ordinary circumstances and turned it into something Hitchcockian. Moore says "Non-Stop" reminds her of the classic disaster movies like "The Poseidon Adventure" or "Towering Inferno" that she loved as a kid.
Julianne Moore says the director of "Non-Stop" made a film that had what she used to love about watching movies.
<<CUT ..010 (03/11/14)>> 00:14 "don't in life"
Julianne Moore says she found "Non-Stop" appealing because the characters had layers to them.
<<CUT ..011 (03/11/14)>> 00:14 "I've been there"
Julianne Moore says when she gets recognized in an airport, she doesn't try to hide.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Only four slots are left on this season of "The Voice." Each of the coaches has just a single opening to fill on their teams as the blind auditions continue tonight. Last night, Team Adam picked up Josh Kaufman, a soulful college prep tutor from Indianapolis. He had three of the coaches turning their chairs. But Adam Levine didn't stand a chance with the country duo Alaska and Madi. They're from Blake Shelton's home state of Oklahoma. They also won the same state singing competition that started Shelton on his career. Shelton says they were just meant to be together.
Adam Levine knows he has no chance, when he learns that Alaska and Madi are from Blake Shelton's home state. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..014 (03/11/14)>> 00:14 "to be together"
Blake Shelton tells Alaska and Madi they have common roots in a singing competition in their home state. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..015 (03/11/14)>> 00:25 ""
Josh Kaufman, performing "One More Try"
Josh Kaufman, performing "One More Try." COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..016 (03/11/14)>> 00:13 "awesome, you're incredilble (cheers)"
Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Josh Kaufman
The coaches give Josh high marks on a difficult song. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..017 (03/11/14)>> 00:11 "as a coach"
The coaches and Josh Kaufman
Adam Levine has a convincing argument for Josh. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))
"THE BACHELOR" FINALE
UNDATED (AP) -- There was no ring and no proposal on last night's finale of "The Bachelor." Juan Pablo told Nikki he had a ring, but wasn't going to give it to her. He gave her the final rose instead. Nikki says she loves Juan Pablo but all he would say is that he likes her a lot and didn't want to let her go. Earlier Juan Pablo told Clare she wasn't the one. Clare fired back that she had no respect for Juan Pablo. She said she would never want her children to have a father like Juan Pablo.
Clare tells Juan Pablo she has no respect for him. COURTESY: ABC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..003 (03/11/14)>> 00:22 "let you go"
Juan Pablo Galavis
Juan Pablo Galavis tells Nikki he won't propose. ((note length of cut)) COURTESY: ABC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..004 (03/11/14)>> 00:21 "final rose ... absolutely"
Juan Pablo Galavis and Nikki Ferrell
Juan Pablo won't say that he loves Nikki. ((note length of cut)) COURTESY: ABC ((mandatory on-air credit))
"THE BACHELOR"-LIVE REUNION
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- So, does Juan Pablo love Nikki? We still don't know. Last night, on "The Bachelor" live reunion show host Chris Harrison pressed Juan Pablo on his feelings toward Nikki. Juan Pablo said he wouldn't answer the question. Nikki says she loves Juan Pablo but isn't sure how he feels about her. They both say they're happy they can continue their relationship in public now the season is over.
<<CUT ..005 (03/11/14)>> 00:11 "serious about marriage"
Clare says Juan Pablo played her. COURTESY: ABC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..006 (03/11/14)>> 00:15 "I don't know"
Nikki Ferrell and Chris Harrison
Nikki tells host Chris Harrison she's happy her relationship with Juan Pablo can now be out in the open. COURTESY: ABC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..007 (03/11/14)>> 00:14 "question to you"
Juan Pablo Galavis and Chris Harrison
Juan Pablo won't say if he loves Nikki. COURTESY: ABC ((mandatory on-air credit))
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