The Passing of a Legend: Michael Crichton

Jan 9, 2009 | Stacy Matson | Celebrity Health

Michael Crichton didn’t win a Pulitzer or a national book award for his writings, however, his books sold as many as 150 million copies around the globe. There is no doubt that Crichton contributed to a healthier world in more ways than one!

His movie and TV credits were equally as impressive including Jurassic Park and the successful television series ER and his new novel was scheduled to be released in a month or so but he died unexpectedly. Michael Crichton, the great author and film director died of cancer on November 4, 2008. The unexpected death of Crichton stunned his fans, critics and media all over the world. Reaction came up from various sources.

The New York Times said, “Reviewers often complained that Mr. Crichton’s characters were wooden, that his ear for dialogue was tin and that his science was suspect. Environmentalists raged against his skeptical views on climate change, first expressed in the 2004 novel, “State of Fear,” and subsequently in various public forums. Even his severest critics, however, confessed to being seduced by his plots and unable to resist turning the pages, rapidly”.

Crichton was an elegant writer of technology related thrillers. He spoke about the consequences of misuse and misunderstanding of science and nature. He also unveiled the adverse effects of too-much dependence on scientific advances. Regarding Crichton’s works, USA Today pointed out, “In Jurassic Park, Crichton posed warnings about what could happen if dinosaurs were once again allowed to roam Earth. In The Andromeda Strain, he preached caution when dealing with bacteria and biological agents. In State of Fear, he pondered the dangers of politicizing scientific issues such as global warming. And in Prey, he mulled the hazards inherent in artificial intelligence”.

Crichton was born in Chicago on October 23, 1942.  His father was a journalist and editor of a magazine. His first write-up appeared in the travel section of the New York Times, when he was just 14. He became a doctor, acquiring his MD from the Harvard Medical School in 1969. “He helped pay his way through medical school by writing mysteries, including A Case of Need, written under the pen name Jeffrey Hudson, which won the 1969 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America”, revealed USA Today. In his writing career, Crichton was influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In 2006, Crichton's last novel, Next, was released. Next was centered on transgenic animals [animals with genes introduced from a separate organism] and expressed Crichton’s concerns over the cutting-edge genetic technologies. The novel attracted audiences as well as media attention including criticism calling Next an extension of the arguments Crichton made in his earlier novels in 90’s, Jurassic Park and The Lost World. Crichton’s 2004 novel, State Of Fear, also fueled serious adverse reactions. In this novel, he suggested that it is a speculation, not fact that global warming is caused by human activities.

The 90's was the most glorious decade for Crichton’s career. “In quick succession in the early 1990s, Michael Crichton's novel Disclosure was No. 1 on the U.S. best-seller charts; the film Jurassic Park, based on another of his novels and on whose screenplay he worked uncredited, was America's top-grossing film; and the television series ER, which he created, was the best-rated program on U.S. television”.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, in an obituary on Crichton, “At his peak, he was earning tens of millions of dollars a year, but he rarely slowed down his pace of work, once claiming to have as many as 30 ideas for books ‘buzzing around in my brain’ at any time”.

Crichton’s writing style was appropriate for films, because, his novels were mainly plot-driven, attractive to audiences, and crafted on a base of highly-fascinating techno-thrillers. As a result, his books and screenplays created Hollywood films. He was highly successful as a film director and pioneered the use of computer-generated special effects.

Thank you Michael Crichton for contributing to A Healthier World.

Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

  1. R Cohen PhD et al, Financial Burden of Medical Care: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January – June 2011, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2012
  2. David U. Himmelstein MD et al, Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study, The American Journal of Medicine, June 5, 2009
  3. Health care in Canada, Government of Canada, June 29, 2012
  4. Sarah Kliff, Everything you ever wanted to know about Canadian health care in one post, The Washington Post, July 1, 2012
  5. Kyle Cheney, Exchanges may have high out-of-pocket costs, Politico, September 26, 2013
  6. How much do we really pay? Fraser Institute, Fraser Forum, November/December 2011 
  7. Dental Health Services in Canada, Facts and Figures, 2010
  8. Patients Come First
  9. Dr. Benjamin Snider
  10. Life expectancy, at birth and at age 65, by sex and by province and territory, Statistics Canada, 2007/2009
  11. 2012 Life Expectancy, US Second to Last, Whiteout Press, March 26, 2012
  12. Ajay Tandon, Measuring Overall Health System Performance for 191 countries, WHO
  13. Statistics, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  14. Leading Causes of Death, CDC, 2010
  15. Diabetes Statistics, American Diabetes Association, January 26, 2011
  16. Diabetes in Canada: Facts and figures from a public health perspective, Public Health Agency of Canada, December 15, 2011
  17. Adult obesity prevalence in Canada and the United States, Statistics Canada, June 21, 2011
  18. Physician Satisfaction with Practicing Medicine, 2009 International Health Policy Survey, The Commonwealth Fund
  19. Comparing the U.S. and Canadian Health Care Systems, National Bureau of Economic Research
  20. Charlie Fidelman, No progress in wait times for health care in Canada: report, Montreal Gazette, June 11, 2013
  21. The Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care,  Fraser Institute, July 18, 2013
  22. Timely Medical Alternatives
  23. Canada's doctor shortage will only worsen in the coming decade, Fraser Institute, March 20, 2011
  24. The Shona Holmes Story, Canadian Constitution Foundation
  25. Canadian Constitution Foundation

Introducing Stitches!

Your Path to Meaningful Connections in the World of Health and Medicine
Connect, Collaborate, and Engage!

Coming Soon - Stitches, the innovative chat app from the creators of HWN. Join meaningful conversations on health and medical topics. Share text, images, and videos seamlessly. Connect directly within HWN's topic pages and articles.

Be the first to know when Stitches starts accepting users

The Latest from Celebrity Health

Susan Lucci's Real Life Soap Opera
Susan Lucci's Real Life Soap Opera

I am the luckiest actress on the planet - Susan Lucci

Help St. Jude
Help St. Jude

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver - Maya Angelou

Stick It to the Flu
Stick It to the Flu

Imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community — Eula Biss, author of On Immunity

Stay Connected