'Jurassic Park' Author; Obama's Grandmother

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 9, 2008 | Go to article overview

'Jurassic Park' Author; Obama's Grandmother


Byline: Associated Press

Michael Crichton, the million-selling author who made scientific research terrifying and irresistible in such thrillers as "Jurassic Park," "Timeline" and "The Andromeda Strain," has died. He was 66.

Crichton died Tuesday after privately battling cancer, his family said.

He was an experimenter and popularizer known for his stories of disaster and systematic breakdown, such as the rampant microbe of "The Andromeda Strain" or the dinosaurs running madly in "Jurassic Park." Many of his books became major Hollywood movies, including "Jurassic Park," "Rising Sun" and "Disclosure." Crichton himself directed and wrote "The Great Train Robbery" and he co-wrote the script for the blockbuster "Twister."

In 1994, he created the award-winning TV hospital series "ER."

In recent years, Crichton was the rare novelist granted a White House meeting with President Bush, perhaps because of his skepticism about global warming, which Crichton addressed in the 2004 novel, "State of Fear."

Madelyn Payne Dunham, Barack Obamas grandmother, whose personality and bearing shaped much of the life of the Democratic presidential contender, has died. She was 86.

Obama announced the news from the campaign trail in Charlotte, N.C. The joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said Dunham died Sunday at her Honolulu apartment after a battle with cancer.

Last month, Obama took a break from campaigning and flew to Hawaii to be with Dunham as her health declined. He told CBS that he "got there too late" when his mother died of ovarian cancer in 1995 at age 53 and wanted to avoid that mistake again.

The Kansas-born Dunham and her husband, Stanley, raised their grandson for several years in Honolulu while their daughter and her second husband lived overseas.

Her influence on Obamas manner and the way he viewed the world was substantial, the candidate told millions watching him accept his partys nomination in Denver in August.

"Shes the one who taught me about hard work," he said. "Shes the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me."

Cecil Stoughton, the White House photographer who shot the iconic image of Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office aboard Air Force One, has died. He was 88.

Stoughton died Monday evening at his Merritt Island home, his son, Jamie Stoughton, said Tuesday. He had struggled with health problems after undergoing hip replacement surgery a few years ago, his children said.

His famous picture of Johnsons grim swearing-in ceremony in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, shows Johnson in a cramped airplane cabin with Jacqueline Kennedy at his side.

Dr. Ronald Davis, a longtime public health and anti-tobacco advocate who served as president of the American Medical Association, died Thursday. He was 52.

Davis died at his home near East Lansing, Mich., the AMA said. He had pancreatic cancer.

A specialist in preventive medicine, Davis one-year term as AMA president ended in June.

Sir John "Jack" Hermon, a strong-willed Ulsterman who commanded Northern Irelands police force through many of its worst years of conflict with the IRA, died Thursday. He was 79.

Hermons family and the British government announced his death. He had Alzheimers disease and died in a nursing home in the Belfast suburb of Bangor.

During his command, Hermon saw more than 120 of his officers killed by the Irish Republican Army and defended his own forces controversial tactics in confronting the underground group.

G. Larry James, who won gold and silver medals in track in the 1968 Olympics, died Thursday. He was 61.

James, the athletic director at Richard Stockton College in Pamona, N.J., for 28 years, died of cancer, school spokesman Tim Kelly said.

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