Robert Ludlum is an American thriller novelist who was born on May 25th 1927 in New York and spent his childhood in New Jersey. His father was a business man and mother the daughter of a rich businessman due to which he had a financially secure childhood. He went to ‘The Rectory School’ and the ‘Cheshire Academy’ and then for graduate studies to the Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Before starting his career in writing, he acted in various theatrical shows and also produced many of them. He acted in more than 200 dramas in TV and Stage both. Ludlum was also in the US Marine Corps before his career as an author. He was married to the actress Mary Ryducha and had three children with her.
His first novel was ‘The Scarlatti Inheritance’ published in 1971. The novel instantly reached the bestselling charts. This was a book about the Nazis and international investors. His second book was published two years later called the ‘The Osterman Weekend’ which also became a film later on. By the middle of the 70’s Ludlum had started writing as a full time career. The Ludlum family moved to Long Island where they had their second home. Ludlum travelled a lot to find backgrounds for his stories.
His most renowned novel series was ‘The Bourne Identity’ which started in 1980’s. It was a story about an American man who is a counter assassin with a memory loss and he confronts his opponents in different locations.
His books were mainly about characters that were the way they were due to economic reasons. They had to fight against governments or negative forces that were power hungry. ‘The Aquitaine Progression’ (1984) and ‘In the Matarese Circle’ (1979) were books with a similar story line. Ludlum also published some books under pseudonyms. One of his pseudonyms was ‘Jonathan Ryder’ which he used for his books ‘Trevayne’ and ‘The Cry of the Halidon’. Another was ‘Michael Shepherd’ that was used for his humorous books like ‘The Road to Gandolpho’.
Robert Ludlum wrote more than 25 thriller novels. His books in print have got over 290 million copies and have been translated in 32 languages. He was one of most successful thriller writer of the twentieth century. A book that he had been writing before his death was the ‘The Tristan Betrayal’ and it was published in 2003. When it was published posthumously there was a note saying:
“Since his death, the Estate of Robert Ludlum has worked with a careful selected author and editor to prepare and edit this work for publication.”
Robert Ludlum died on March 12th in 2001 due to a heart attack in his home in Florida. At the time he was recovering from injuries he had suffered due to a fire.
Robert Ludlum made an immense contribution to American literature. His books were about conspiracies, one heroic man who had to struggle against evil forces, obscure military forces and corrupt government organizations. Ludlum’s books also depicted terrorism.