Tom Clancy, the author whose intense espionage thrillers made him a legend and the most prominent embossed name in dads' libraries, has reportedly died at the age of 66. It's said he passed away in a hospital in his hometown of Baltimore, though no official cause of death has yet been provided. Probably not a coincidence that the government just put a shutdown on all heart-pounding, technically-detailed military thrills.
In the movie world, Clancy's novels have served as the basis for such films as The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears, the one where Ben Affleck became Clancy's long-running protagonist Jack Ryan. And even today, Clancy's work continues to inspire Hollywood: his Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon video game series are both in development for big-screen adaptations, and Kenneth Branagh just shot a new Jack Ryan film to be released this Christmas.