“I mean, we’re all trying to find out who the hell we are, aren’t we?” — Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity
Known for action-packed scenes, exciting plots, and stories that will have you at the edge of your seat, Robert Ludlum is still one of the best-selling thriller authors to date despite his death in 2001.
Although he was born in New York, Robert Ludlum grew up and studied in Connecticut. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University, where he earned a BA in drama in 1951 and where he was a part of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
Before becoming an author, Ludlum enlisted as a marine, worked as a theatrical actor, and became a producer. He produced shows at the Grant Lee Theater in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in the 1950s and then at the Playhouse on the Mall in Paramus, New Jersey, from 1960 to 1970. In the ’70s, Ludlum lived in New Jersey, where he wrote for hours each day at home.
Ludlum is best known for writing thrillers such as The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and the Jason Bourne series. His debut novel, The Scarlatti Inheritance (1971), is about a group of business executives who fund Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. The novel was a commercial success, launching him to the forefront of thriller novels.
His most popular work, the Bourne series, is about a fictional spy named Jason Bourne. The first three novels were written by Ludlum and continued by Eric Van Lustbader after the former’s death.
The first book, The Bourne Identity, introduces Jason Bourne, a man with survival abilities who suffers from retrograde amnesia and seeks to discover his identity. At the same time, he tries to figure out why several groups want him dead. The novel was adapted in 1988 into a television movie, starring Richard Chamberlain, and a feature film in 2002, starring Matt Damon.
In 2001, Ludlum died after sustaining severe burns from a mysterious fire. To this day, a lot of mystery surrounds his death, which is dubbed as the Ludlum Conspiracy.
Following his death, more of his books have been published, including the continuation of the Bourne series. More novels are also said to be adapted into films soon, including The Chancellor Letter, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
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