June 8

This Day in History

Literary

Jun 8, 1999:

Hannibal by Thomas Harris hits bookstores

Some 1.3 million copies of Hannibal, the final book in the Hannibal Lecter series by Thomas Harris, arrive at bookstores around the country. Hannibal quickly tops the bestseller charts, despite—or perhaps because of—an intensely gruesome plot.

Hannibal Lecter, the brilliant psychiatrist/serial killer with a taste for human flesh, first appeared in Harris' 1981 book, Red Dragon, as a minor character. He played a larger role in The Silence of the Lambs (1988), which sold some 10 million copies and was made into an Academy Award-winning movie in 1991, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Hannibal was made into a film starring Hopkins and Julianne Moore in 2001.

Harris was born in 1940 in Richmond, Mississippi, the son of a biology teacher and an electrical engineer. In 1968, he took a job in New York with the Associated Press. While working for the news agency, Harris and two friends had an idea for a novel about hijackers seizing the Goodyear blimp during the Super Bowl. Harris turned the idea into the bestselling Black Sunday (1975). He has turned out bestsellers ever since. Like his antihero Hannibal Lecter, Harris is a gourmet chef with a taste for fine wines. He divides his time between Sag Harbor, Miami, and Paris.

Fact Check We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!

What Happened on Your Birthday?

Pick a Date

Shop HISTORY

  • Ben Franklin DVD

    Ben Franklin DVD

    The Ben Franklin DVD is a revealing yet informal History Channelâ„¢ presentation, the real man behind the myth is finally brought to light.

    $19.99

    Buy Now