Robert Ludlum

Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum portrait photo
Robert Ludlum portrait photo
BornRobert Ludlum
(1927-05-25)May 25, 1927
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 12, 2001(2001-03-12) (aged 73)
Naples, Florida, U.S.
Pen nameJonathan Ryder, Michael Shepherd
Alma materWesleyan University, B.A. 1951
GenreThriller, spy fiction, mystery
Notable worksThe Bourne Trilogy
SpouseMary Ryducha,[1] Karen Dunn[2]
Children3 (two sons and a daughter)

Robert Ludlum (May 25, 1927 – March 12, 2001) was an American author of 27 thriller novels, best known as the creator of Jason Bourne from the original The Bourne Trilogy series. The number of copies of his books in print is estimated between 300 million and 500 million.[3][4][5] They have been published in 33 languages and 40 countries. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.[6]

Life and career

Early life and education

Ludlum was born in New York City, the son of Margaret (née Wadsworth) and George Hartford Ludlum.[7] His maternal grandparents were English.[8] He was educated at The Rectory School then Cheshire Academy and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he earned a B.A. in Drama in 1951. While at Wesleyan, Ludlum joined the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. After becoming an author later in life, Ludlum would set his mystery novel Matlock Paper at the fictitious Carlyle University in Connecticut, a thinly disguised Wesleyan.[9][10]


Prior to becoming an author, he had been a United States Marine,[11] a theatrical actor and producer. In the 1950s, he produced shows at the Grant Lee theater in Fort Lee, New Jersey. From 1960 to 1970, he managed and produced shows at the Playhouse on the Mall at Bergen Mall in Paramus, New Jersey.[12] His theatrical experience may have contributed to his understanding of the energy, escapism and action that the public wanted in a novel. He once remarked: "I equate suspense and good theater in a very similar way. I think it's all suspense and what-happens-next. From that point of view, yes, I guess, I am theatrical."[6]

Many of Ludlum's novels have been made into films and mini-series, including The Osterman Weekend, The Holcroft Covenant, The Apocalypse Watch, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Covert One: The Hades Factor, a book co-written with Gayle Lynds, was originally conceived as a mini-series; the book evolved from a short treatment Ludlum wrote for NBC. The Bourne movies, starring Matt Damon in the title role, have been commercially and critically successful (The Bourne Ultimatum won three Academy Awards in 2008), although the story lines depart significantly from the source material.

During the 1970s, Ludlum lived in Leonia, New Jersey, where he spent hours each day writing at his home.[13]


Ludlum died on March 12, 2001, at his home in Naples, Florida, while recovering from severe burns caused by a mysterious fire which occurred on February 10.[14][15]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Robert Ludlum
български: Робърт Лъдлъм
català: Robert Ludlum
čeština: Robert Ludlum
Cymraeg: Robert Ludlum
Deutsch: Robert Ludlum
español: Robert Ludlum
français: Robert Ludlum
hrvatski: Robert Ludlum
Bahasa Indonesia: Robert Ludlum
italiano: Robert Ludlum
kaszëbsczi: Robert Ludlum
македонски: Роберт Ладлам
Nederlands: Robert Ludlum
português: Robert Ludlum
română: Robert Ludlum
Simple English: Robert Ludlum
slovenčina: Robert Ludlum
slovenščina: Robert Ludlum
svenska: Robert Ludlum
Türkçe: Robert Ludlum
українська: Роберт Ладлам