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National

Author Tom Clancy Dies At 66

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's take a moment now to remember Tom Clancy, who has died at the age of 66. In 1984, he was a Maryland insurance broker writing fiction on the side. Then President Reagan called Clancy's first novel, quote, "my kind of yarn" and the book became a bestseller.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

"The Hunt for Red October" was a Cold War thriller about spies and submarines. Clancy followed up with books like "Clear and Present Danger" and "Patriot Games."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "PATRIOT GAMES")

HARRISON FORD: (as Jack Ryan) How were you going to get away, huh? Wanna go for the other knee? Come on...

INSKEEP: That's Harrison Ford playing Jack Ryan, a CIA agent who fought the Soviets, terrorists and traitors in Clancy's books.

Tom Clancy told WHYY's FRESH AIR that he pictured Ryan as a regular guy.

TOM CLANCY: He has a wife and a couple of kids. Yeah, that's ordinary. More so than the James Bond movie I was watching on HBO this morning, let's put it that way.

MONTAGNE: Clancy was often described as something of a regular guy himself, though his fellow thriller writer Brad Meltzer thinks that might be selling him short.

BRAD MELTZER: Look at the back picture on his books. Look back at his original author photos. They look like someone who was going to defend us himself. Like, really, if it all went to pot, he might just come out and take the Russians down for us.

INSKEEP: Success allowed Tom Clancy to indulge his passions through the last three decades of his life; he became a part owner of the Baltimore Orioles, and even had a real Army tank - it was a Christmas gift from his wife.

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.