Jurassic' author, 'ER' creator Crichton dies
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Michael Crichton, who helped create the TV show "ER" and wrote the best-sellers "Jurassic Park," "The Andromeda Strain," "Sphere" and "Rising Sun," died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, his public relations firm said in a news release.
He "died unexpectedly," the release said, "after a courageous and private battle against cancer."
He was 66.
Crichton, a medical doctor, was attracted to cautionary science tales. "Jurassic Park" -- perhaps his best-known work -- concerned capturing the DNA of dinosaurs and bringing them to life on a modern island, where they soon run amok; "The Andromeda Strain," his first major fiction success, involves an alien microorganism that's studied in a special military compound after causing death in a nearby community.
Crichton also invited controversy with some of his scientific views. He was an avowed skeptic of global climate change, giving lectures warning against "consensus science." He later took on global warming and the theories surrounding it in his 2004 novel "State of Fear," which attracted attacks in its own right from scientists including NASA's James Hansen.
Crichton was a distinctive figure in the entertainment business, a trained physician whose interests included writing, filmmaking and television. (He was physically distinctive as well, standing 6-foot-9.) He published "The Andromeda Strain" while he was still a medical student at Harvard Medical School. He wrote a story about a 19th-century train robbery, called "The Great Train Robbery," and then directed the 1979 film version.
Crichton won an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Writer's Guild of America Award for "ER," and won other awards as well.
"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," the news release said.
A private funeral service is expected.
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