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Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum portrait photo
Robert Ludlum portrait photo
Born (1927-05-25)May 25, 1927
New York City, U.S.
Died March 12, 2001(2001-03-12) (aged 73)
Naples, Florida, U.S.
Pen name Jonathan Ryder, Michael Shepherd
Occupation Novelist
Alma mater Wesleyan University, B.A. 1951
Genre Thriller, spy fiction, mystery
Notable works The Bourne Trilogy
Spouse Mary Ryducha, Karen Dunn
Children 3

Robert Ludlum (May 25, 1927 – March 12, 2001) was an American author of 27 thriller novels, best known as the creator of Jason Bourne from the original The Bourne Trilogy series. The number of copies of his books in print is estimated between 300 million and 500 million. They have been published in 33 languages and 40 countries. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.

Life and career

Early life and education

Ludlum was born in New York City, the son of Margaret (née Wadsworth) and George Hartford Ludlum. He was educated at the Rectory School then Cheshire Academy and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he earned a B.A. in Drama in 1951.

Career

Prior to becoming an author, he had been a United States Marine, a theatrical actor and producer. In the 1950s, he produced shows at the Grant Lee theater in Fort Lee, New Jersey. From 1960 to 1970, he managed and produced shows at the Playhouse on the Mall at Bergen Mall in Paramus, New Jersey. His theatrical experience may have contributed to his understanding of the energy, escapism and action that the public wanted in a novel. He once remarked: "I equate suspense and good theater in a very similar way. I think it's all suspense and what-happens-next. From that point of view, yes, I guess, I am theatrical."

Many of Ludlum's novels have been made into films and mini-series, including The Osterman Weekend, The Holcroft Covenant, The Apocalypse Watch, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Covert One: The Hades Factor, a book co-written with Gayle Lynds, was originally conceived as a mini-series; the book evolved from a short treatment Ludlum wrote for NBC. The Bourne movies, starring Matt Damon in the title role, have been commercially and critically successful (The Bourne Ultimatum won three Academy Awards in 2008), although the story lines depart significantly from the source material.

During the 1970s, Ludlum lived in Leonia, New Jersey, where he spent hours each day writing at his home.

Death

Ludlum died of a heart attack on March 12, 2001, at his home in Naples, Florida, while recovering from severe burns caused by a mysterious fire which occurred on February 10, 2001.

In 2005, the company which held all merchandising for Ludlum's works via the Ludlum's estate, Ludlum Entertainment, inked an agreement with Vivendi Universal Games to handle video game rights to the games for a 10-year agreement. The license expired in 2008. On November 20, 2008, the Ludlum estate inked a deal with Universal Pictures to develop feature films based on the works of Robert Ludlum. On February 2, 2009, Ludlum transferred video game rights to his work to Electronic Arts after Activision took over Vivendi Games' assets.

Filmography

Many of Ludlum's novels have been made into films and miniseries, although the storylines might depart significantly from the source material. In general, a miniseries is more faithful to the original novel on which it is based. Adaptations of Ludlum's works are published under the trademark Treadstone, which is held by the executor of the Robert Ludlum estate.

  • 1977 – The Rhinemann Exchange — miniseries — Stephen Collins as David Spaulding, Lauren Hutton as Leslie Jenner Hawkewood
  • 1983 – The Osterman Weekend — film — Rutger Hauer as John Tanner, Sam Peckinpah directed
  • 1985 – The Holcroft Covenant — film — Michael Caine as Noel Holcroft
  • 1988 – The Bourne Identity — miniseries — Richard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne, Jaclyn Smith as Marie St. Jacques
  • 1997 – The Apocalypse Watch — miniseries — Patrick Bergin as Drew Latham
  • 2002 – The Bourne Identity — film — Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
  • 2004 – The Bourne Supremacy — film — Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
  • 2006 – Covert One: The Hades Factor — miniseries — Stephen Dorff as Jon Smith
  • 2007 – The Bourne Ultimatum — film — Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
  • 2012 – The Bourne Legacy — film — starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton
  • 2016 – Jason Bourne — film — Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
  • TBA – The Chancellor Manuscript — film — Leonardo DiCaprio as Peter Chancellor1
  • TBA – The Janson Directive — film — John Cena as Paul Janson1

1 announced/in development

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Robert Ludlum para niños

  • Airport novel
  • Publishers Weekly lists of bestselling novels in the United States
  • Spy fiction
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