His high-tech Cold War thrillers made him the most widely-read military novelist of his time. Clancy's novels were dependable best-sellers, with worldwide sales estimated at over 100 million copies. Several, including The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, were later made into blockbuster movies, with another based on his CIA hero Jack Ryan, due for UK release this Christmas.
Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Harrison Ford were among the actors who played Ryan on screen. (The new Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit movie stars Chris Pine (Capt.Kirk from Star Trek) and is directed by Kenneth Branagh. Keira Knightly plays Ryan's wife and Kevin Costner his CIA mentor.)
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Clancy also wrote non-fiction works on the military and even successfully ventured into best-selling video games. His recent Jack Ryan novels were collaborations with Mark Greaney, including Threat Vector and a release scheduled for December, Command Authority.
Clancy was admired in the military community, and appeared (though he often denied it) to have a kind of special access, that enabled him to intricately describe anything from surveillance to the operations of a submarine. He often played off - and sometimes anticipated - world events, as in the pre-9/11 thriller Debt of Honour, in which a jumbo jet destroys the White House during a joint meeting of Congress, and catapaults a reluctant Jack Ryan into the role of US President.
Clancy was 66.