Tom Clancy Biography & Facts
Thomas Leo Clancy Jr. (April 12, 1947 – October 1, 2013) was an American novelist. He is best known for his technically detailed espionage and military-science storylines set during and after the Cold War. Seventeen of his novels have been bestsellers and more than 100 million copies of his books have been sold. His name was also used on movie scripts written by ghostwriters, nonfiction books on military subjects occasionally with co-authors, and video games. He was a part-owner of his hometown Major League Baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles of the American League, and vice-chairman of their community activities and public affairs committees.
Originally an insurance agent, his literary career began in 1984 when he sold his first military thriller novel The Hunt for Red October for $5,000 published by the small academic Naval Institute Press of Annapolis, Maryland.
His works The Hunt for Red October (1984), Patriot Games (1987), Clear and Present Danger (1989), and The Sum of All Fears (1991) have been turned into commercially successful films. Tom Clancy's works also inspired games such as the Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, The Division, and Splinter Cell series. Since Clancy's death in 2013, the Jack Ryan series has been continued by his family estate through a series of authors.
Early life and education
Clancy was born on April 12, 1947, at Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in the Northwood neighborhood in northeast Baltimore. The family was Irish-American. He was the second of three children to Thomas Clancy, who worked for the United States Postal Service, and Catherine Clancy, who worked in a store's credit department. He was a member of Troop 624 of the Boy Scouts of America.Clancy's mother worked to send him to the private Catholic secondary school taught by the Jesuit religious order (Society of Jesus), Loyola High School in Towson, Maryland, from which he graduated in 1965. He then attended the associated Loyola College (now Loyola University Maryland) in Baltimore, graduating in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in English literature. While at Loyola College, he was president of the chess club. He joined the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps; however, he was ineligible to serve due to his myopia (nearsightedness), which required him to wear thick eyeglasses.After graduating, Clancy worked for an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut.In 1973, Clancy joined the O. F. Bowen Agency, a small insurance agency based in Owings, Maryland, founded by his wife's grandfather. In 1980, he purchased the insurance agency from his wife's grandmother and wrote novels in his spare time. While working at the insurance agency, he wrote his debut novel, The Hunt for Red October (1984).
Clancy's literary career began in 1982 when he started writing The Hunt for Red October, which in 1984 he sold for publishing to the Naval Institute Press for $5,000. The publisher was impressed with the work; Deborah Grosvenor, the Naval Institute Press editor who read through the book, said later that she convinced the publisher: "I think we have a potential best seller here, and if we don't grab this thing, somebody else would." She believed Clancy had an "innate storytelling ability, and his characters had this very witty dialogue". Clancy, who had hoped to sell 5,000 copies, ended up selling over 45,000. After publication, the book received praise from President Ronald Reagan, who called the work "the best yarn", subsequently boosting sales to 300,000 hardcover and 2 million paperback copies of the book, making it a national bestseller. The book was critically praised for its technical accuracy, which led to Clancy meeting several high-ranking officers in the U.S. military including Steve Pieczenik, and to inspiration for reoccurring characters in his works. Clancy's novels focus on the hero, most notably Jack Ryan and John Clark, both Irish Catholics like himself. He repeatedly uses the formula whereby the heroes are "highly skilled, disciplined, honest, thoroughly professional, and only lose their cool when incompetent politicians or bureaucrats get in their way. Their unambiguous triumphs over evil provide symbolic relief from the legacy of the Vietnam War."The Cold War epic Red Storm Rising (1986) was co-written (according to Clancy in the book's foreword) with fellow military-oriented author Larry Bond. The book was published by Putnam and sold almost a million copies within its first year. Clancy became the cornerstone of a publishing list by Putnam which emphasized authors like Clancy who would produce annually. His publisher, Phyllis E. Grann, called these "repeaters."
Clancy has author status on the cover of dozens of books. Seventeen of his novels made it to the top of the New York Times best seller list. He co-authored memoirs of top generals, and produced numerous guided tours of the elite aspects of the American military. Andrew Bacevich states:
Clancy did for military pop-lit what Starbucks did for the preparation of caffeinated beverages: he launched a sprawling, massively profitable industrial enterprise that simultaneously serves and cultivates an insatiable consumer base. Whether the item consumed provides much in terms of nourishment is utterly beside the point. That it tastes yummy going down more than suffices to keep customers coming back.By 1988, Clancy had earned $1.3 million for The Hunt for Red October and had signed a $3 million contract for his next three books. In 1992, he sold North American rights to Without Remorse for $14 million, a record for a single book. By 1997, Penguin Putnam Inc. (part of Pearson Education) paid Clancy $50 million for world rights to two new books and another $25 million to Red Storm Entertainment for a four-year book/multimedia deal. Clancy followed this up with an agreement with Penguin's Berkley Books for 24 paperbacks to tie in with the ABC television miniseries Tom Clancy's Net Force aired in the fall/winter of 1998. The Op-Center universe has laid the ground for the series of books written by Jeff Rovin, which was in an agreement worth $22 million, bringing the total value of the package to $97 million.In 1993, Clancy joined a group of investors that included Peter Angelos, and bought the Baltimore Orioles from Eli Jacobs. In 1998, he reached an agreement to purchase the Minnesota Vikings, but had to abandon the deal because of a divorce settlement cost.The first NetForce novel, titled Net Force (1999), was adapted as a 1999 TV movie starring Scott Bakula and Joanna Going. The first Op-Center novel (Tom Clancy's Op-Center published in 1995) was released to coincide with a 1995 NBC television miniseries of the same name starring Harry Hamlin and a cast of stars. Though the miniseries did not continue, the book series did, but later had little in common with the first TV miniseries other than the title and the names of the main characters.Clancy wrote several nonfiction books .... Discover the Tom Clancy popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Tom Clancy books.