Michael Crichton, who would have turned 70 today, was a member of an elite group – authors whose names are known in households all over the U.S. and even worldwide.
Author Michael Crichton poses at The Peninsula Hotel in New York, Dec. 7, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)
The hundreds of millions of books he sold – and the many successful movies made from them – put Crichton in the very top tier of writers. There are only a few contemporary literary names as well known as his: Stephen King, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, and the like. But Crichton achieved a distinction that put him above even those equally famous peers.
In 1994, Michael Crichton became the only creative artist ever to have number one hits simultaneously on TV, in literature, and at the movies. For his birthday, we're spotlighting those three classics.
Television: ER. Michael Crichton's TV masterpiece, ER, burst out of the gate in its first season to become one of the greatest water-cooler shows of the '90s. During its 15-season run, the series would win 22 Emmy Awards and become the longest-running primetime medical drama in U.S. television history. But in 1994, all we knew was that we were fascinated with the show's young, intelligent and complex (oh, and attractive, too) doctors and nurses, played by George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, Anthony Edwards, Noah Wylie, and many more fine actors.
Literature: Disclosure. Like many of Crichton's best books, bestselling novel Disclosure combined a human story with techie details. This time, a male employee is sexually harassed by a female executive while working on an advanced CD-ROM drive (hey, it was 18 years ago and the CD-ROM was hot technology). That same year, the book was made into a movie starring Demi Moore and Michael Douglas, bringing it more attention and increasing its sales.
Movie: Jurassic Park. And then, of course, there was the 1990 book that became one of the greatest blockbuster movies of all time. Jurassic Park thrilled children and adults alike with the tantalizing idea of dinosaurs existing in our modern world. And it taught us that T. Rex is scary indeed, but it's the raptors you really need to watch out for.
Written by Linnea Crowther