On this day in 1942, Michael Crichton is born in Chicago.
Crichton, the son of the executive editor of Advertising Age, was raised in Roslyn, Long Island. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, then taught anthropology at Cambridge in England. He returned to Harvard for medical school but wrote potboilers while working on his degree. By the time he graduated, he had published five novels under the name John Lange, and another under the name Jeffrey Hudson. Later, he collaborated on novels with his brother Douglas under the nom de plume Michael Douglas.
During his final year of medical school, the 6’9″ Crichton published The Andromeda Strain (1969) and decided to write full time instead of practicing medicine. Many of his bestselling novels, including The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, Congo and The Great Train Robbery, became films. He directed the film version of his novels Binary (1972) and Westworld (1973). By 1993, he had four books on the bestseller list and two blockbuster films in the theater (Jurassic Park and Rising Sun). Crichton won the Edgar Award, the mystery writers’ “Oscar,” in 1968 and 1980.