It’s been reported that Tom Clancy, who had long enjoyed a successful and prolific career writing military and geo-political novels, has passed away at 66 of undisclosed causes.
While his bibliography certainly merits study and recognition, this being a movie site, his work is most pertinent via the Jack Ryan series of books that saw four blockbuster films and three hugely famous actors playing the reluctant hero-turned-politician.
Initially, Jack Ryan, played by Alec Baldwin, served as a submarine officer, tracking down a Russian sub in The Hunt for Red October. Then, Jack Ryan and the Clancy novels achieved their biggest on-screen success with the less militaristic Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, with Harrison Ford owning the role in both those films.
Finally, the adaptations ended with a bit of a whimper with The Sum of All Fears, a film that, while grand in scope, didn’t have the same resonance with Ben Affleck in the starring role.
Later in Clancy’s career, many of the franchises he had established had been taken over by ghost writers, but he still left a mark in the realm of video games, lending his name and properties to several huge games, including the Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six series.
While the cold war is turning into a dimmer and dimmer memory for America, Clancy was able to capture America’s military dynamic during that time to great success, and while there will always be action movies, the era of Tom Clancy action films appears to have come to an abrupt end. And that’s a little sad.