Tom Clancy, the best-selling author of techno-thrillers Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games, died last night in a Baltimore hospital at the age of 66, his publisher has confirmed. Clancy was best known for creating the iconic character Jack Ryan and for the startling authenticity he gave to descriptions of military technology and strategy. READ FULL STORY
Tag: In Memoriam (21-30 of 68)
Marcella Hazan, the Italian-born cookbook author who taught generations of Americans how to create simple, fresh Italian food, died Sunday. She was 89.
Hazan died in the morning at her home in Florida, according to an email from her son, Giuliano Hazan, and posts on Facebook and Twitter from her husband and daughter-in-law.
Hazan was best known for her six cookbooks, which were written by her in Italian and translated into English by Victor, her husband of 57 years. The recipes were traditional, tasty and sparse — her famous tomato sauce contained only tomatoes, onion, butter, and salt — and mirrored the tastes of her home country, where importance is placed on the freshness of food, rather than the whiz-bang recipes inside a chef’s mind.
She eschewed the American-style Italian food that suffocated mushy pasta in grainy meatballs and tasteless cheese. She begged home cooks to use more salt and once wrote that if readers were concerned about salt affecting one’s life expectancy, to “not read any further.” On the topic of garlic, Hazan took a sharp view.
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Reading Elmore Leonard’s genre fiction, you were never sure who the hero was. It could be a mobbed-up loan shark (Chili Palmer in Get Shorty), a badge-carrying U.S. marshal with a felon for a father (Raylan Givens in Pronto), or even a flight attendant smuggling cash for a black-market gunrunner (Jackie Burke in Rum Punch). Leonard, who died Tuesday of complications from a stroke at age 87, never shied away from moral ambiguity. And his zippy, dialogue-driven prose style made him a favorite of readers and filmmakers alike.
Born in New Orleans, Leonard spent a nomadic childhood with his father, a dealership site locator for General Motors. Then in 1934, three pivotal events shaped Leonard’s future: His family settled in Detroit, the Tigers made it to the World Series (and won the title the following year), and the twentysomething gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow ended their two-year, headline-grabbing crime spree with a deadly police ambush in northern Louisiana. Leonard became a lifelong devotee of crime stories, sports, and the Motor City — which he continued to call home until the end.
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“The post I dreaded to write, and you dreaded to read. Elmore passed away at 7:15 this morning from complications from his stroke. He was at home surrounded by his loving family,” the post on his page read. READ FULL STORY
Albert Murray, the influential novelist and critic who celebrated black culture, scorned black separatism, and was once praised by Duke Ellington as the “unsquarest man I know,” died Sunday. He was 97.
Murray died at home in his sleep, according to Lewis Jones, a family friend and Murray’s guardian.
Few authors so forcefully bridged the worlds of words and music. Like his old friend and intellectual ally Ralph Ellison, Murray believed that blues and jazz were not primitive sounds, but sophisticated art, finding kinships among Ellington and Louis Armstrong and novelists such as Thomas Mann and Ernest Hemingway.
He argued his case in a series of autobiographical novels, a nonfiction narrative (South to a Very Old Place), an acclaimed history of music (Stomping the Blues) and several books of criticism. Although slowed by back trouble, Murray continued to write well into his 80s, and also helped Wynton Marsalis and others stage the acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts. Millions of television viewers came to know him as a featured commentator in Ken Burns’ documentary series Jazz.
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Barbara Mertz, a best-selling mystery writer who wrote dozens of novels under two pen names, has died. She was 85.
Mertz died Thursday morning at her home, in Frederick, Md., her daughter Elizabeth told her publisher HarperCollins.
Mertz wrote more than 35 mysteries under the name Elizabeth Peters, including her most popular series about a daring Victorian archaeologist named Amelia Peabody. She also wrote 29 suspense novels under the pen name Barbara Michaels, and under her own name, she wrote nonfiction books about ancient Egypt.
Born Barbara Louise Gross, Mertz grew up in small-town Illinois during the Depression and went to the University of Chicago on scholarship, where she wrote on her website, “I was supposed to be preparing myself to teach — a nice, sensible career for a woman.”
But her true love was archaeology, and she soon found herself drawn to the department of Egyptology. She received a Ph.D. at the age of 23.
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Scottish writer Iain Banks, who alternately wowed and disturbed readers with his dark jokes and narrative tricks, has died, his publisher said Sunday. He was 59.
Banks, whose writing took readers from rural Scotland to the edge of space, announced in April that he was terminally ill with cancer and that his soon-to-be released novel, The Quarry, would be his last.
A message on a website set up to provide updates to family, friends and fans quoted his wife Adele as saying Banks died in the early hours of Sunday. “His death was calm and without pain,” she said.
His publisher, Little Brown, said in a statement that Banks’ “ability to combine the most fertile of imaginations with his own highly distinctive brand of gothic humor made him unique. He is an irreplaceable part of the literary world.” READ FULL STORY
Jack Vance, an award-winning mystery, fantasy, and science fiction author who wrote more than 60 books, has died. He was 96.
Vance died Sunday evening at his home in Oakland, his son John Vance II told the Associated Press.
Jack Vance, whose legal name was John Holbrook, published most of his work as Jack Vance, but he also wrote 11 mysteries as John Holbrook Vance and three as Ellery Queen, as well as books under the pen names of Alan Wade, Peter Held, John van See and Jay Kavanse, according to the Jack Vance website, which is maintained by family and friends.
“This is a complex guy, and (there’s) an awful lot to say about him,” John Vance told the AP.
In 2009, a profile in the New York Times Magazine described Vance as “one of American literature’s most distinctive and undervalued voices,” according to the website. READ FULL STORY
Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author, activist, and teacher, has died at 82 following a brief illness.
Achebe graduated from the University College of Ibadan, in 1953 and afterward worked as a Nigerian radio broadcaster. In his twenties, he began work on what would become the defining work of his career — and a continent: Things Fall Apart, published in 1958.
It’s almost impossible to overstate the effect of the book, which as become, in the more than 50 years since publication, the archetype for African fiction and a fountainhead for postcolonial literature. African scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah has said, “It would be impossible to say how Things Fall Apart influenced African writing. It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians.”
He was a “Grand Master” of horror and rats were one of his specialties.
British horror writer James Herbert, whose best-selling spine-tinglers included “The Rats” and “The Fog,” has died at age 69.
Herbert’s publisher, Pan Macmillan, said he died Wednesday at his home in Sussex, southern England. It did not disclose the cause.
The London-born Herbert studied graphic design, print and photography before finding work at an advertising agency.
His first novel, “The Rats” — which depicted London being overrun by mutant flesh-eating rodents — took 10 months to complete and was published in 1974. It sold 100,000 copies in three weeks and was later turned into a film.
He went on to write 23 novels, selling 54 million copies around the world.
Most recent bestsellers included “Nobody True” and “The Secret of Crickley Hall,” which was turned into a three-part series for BBC television that aired in December.
Jeremy Trevathan, Herbert’s editor for ten years at Macmillan, said Herbert had the “rare distinction” of seeing his novels deemed classics of the horror genre within his lifetime.
“It’s a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death,” Trevathan said in a statement. “His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century.”
Herbert was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010 — the same year he was named “Grand Master of Horror” by the World of Horror Convention.
He is survived by his wife Eileen and three daughters.
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