Michael Crichton

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The gone-haywire theme parks of Jurassic Park and Westworld. The breakneck medical battles of ER. The storm chasers of Twister.

All these and more came from the mind of Michael Crichton, the prolific best-selling novelist turned Hollywood titan, who died Tuesday of what was invariably described as a  private battle against cancer. He was 66.

Crichton's 1990 novel Jurassic Park inspired the blockbuster Steven Spielberg franchise. The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Sphere and his Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World, were among his other books that made the leap from the page to the big screen.

On television, Crichton was an executive producer of ER, the long-running NBC drama that launched George Clooney's star, and which is now in its 15th and final season.