Author James Clavell

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on February 23, 2003

Is author James Clavell still alive? I don't see new books by him anymore.
—Carmen K., California

James Clavell, best known for his sprawling 1975 novel Shogun, died in 1994. He was 69 years old. Born in Sydney, Australia, Clavell spent his childhood traveling all over the world, including time spent living in Hong Kong. His father, like his grandfather, was in the British Royal Navy, and they used to tell young James about all the exotic places they'd seen. When he came of age, Clavell also went into the military. He was a POW for three years during World War II. When the war ended, he went to college, where he met his wife, an aspiring ballerina. Her work led him to visit a movie set, and that changed the course of his life. His first screenplay was for the film The Fly, starring Vincent Price. His first novel, published in 1962, was King Rat, which went on to become a movie. Clavell became a U.S. citizen in 1963 and had a thriving career as a writer, producer, and director, with films such as The Great Escape and To Sir, With Love among his works. He was survived by his wife and their two children.