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Clive Cussler (1931–2020), best-selling adventure author

by Kirk Fox

Clive Cussler was a best-selling adventure author known for his series of thrillers starring Dirk Pitt, an underwater explorer and playboy who battles evil villains. One of Cussler’s novels, “Sahara,” was turned into a movie starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz. More than 100 million copies of his books have sold over the past 50 years, including both fiction and nonfiction. Cussler also became an underwater explorer in real life, leading expeditions that discovered many shipwrecks including the Confederate’s Civil War ship Manassas, that sunk in the Mississippi River in 1862.

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Died: Monday, February 24, 2020 (Who else died on February 24?)

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Details of death: Died at the age of 88.


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Cussler on his lifetime love of adventure stories: “I detested school. I was always the kid who was staring out the window. While the teacher was lecturing on algebra, I was on the deck of a pirate ship or in an airplane shooting down the Red Baron.” —1994 interview with Publishers Weekly

What they said about him: “I’m devastated to share the news that my friend and mentor Clive Cussler has passed away. Mere words cannot fully convey my sadness at today’s news. My heart goes out to his wonderful wife Janet and the entire Cussler family for their loss.” —New York Times best-selling author Boyd Morrison

“RIP Clive Cussler, who no matter whether you liked his books or not, had some of the greatest author photos of all time.” —Award-winning short story writer Stephanie King

Full obituary: New York Times

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