Nightly News | October 02, 2013
>>> for anyone who has passed by a bookstore, say nothing of his millions of fans, tom clancy 's name has always been synonymous with a good, gripping yarn. as authors go he was a master at his form. he was an iconoclast to be sure. he used his vast royalties to buy a tank and partial ownership stake in his beloved baltimore orioles . tom clancy died today at the age of 66. we have a look back today from nbc's mike taibbi .
>> we sail into history.
>> reporter: from sean connery and alec baldwin to james early jones, harrison ford and ben affleck , they are lead actors whose career highlights include roles in the movie versions of tom clancy novels.
>> are you all right?
>> yes, sir.
>> reporter: clancy 's yarns were always the real star. along with his uncanny knowledge of military hardware and spy game tactics that seemed to predict future events.
>> i write books. i tell stories. i try to keep them current.
>> reporter: current or prescient? before smart bomb was in current use clancy used one in "a clear and present danger " to take out drug cartel leaders.
>> where are you taking me ?
>> reporter: in " patriot games " jack ryan took us to the cia's inner sanctum where satellite tracking showed an anti-terrorist attack as it unfolded. military professionals often wondered if clancy was writing from classified information.
>> it seemed as if clancy was writing from inside the military. he was very smart, extremely well read. of course he was a great plot twister.
>> reporter: clancy wrote over two dozen best sellers . several turned into action-packed movies that helped secure his reputation with fans worldwide. he told matt lauer he didn't worry about occasional bad reviews.
>> if critics knew how to write books they would be writing and not criticizing them.
>> reporter: and didn't apologize for political views. his latest novel "command authority" due out in december. tom clancy , dead at 66, survived by his wife and five children and his blockbuster stories. mike taibbi , nbc news, los angeles .