Sci-fi novelist Michael Crichton, who made dinosaurs, DNA and emergency-room dramas populist Hollywood fodder, has died. He was 66.

Crichton died today of cancer, according to news reports.

Trained in anthropology and medicine, Crichton became the best-selling author of The Andromeda Strain, a 1969 novel chronicling scientists' attempt to beat a killer, extraterrestrial virus. Crichton's 1990 thriller Jurassic Park brought cloning of dino-DNA to the masses; a dinosaur, Crichton's ankylosaur, is named for him, according to the Associated Press.

And Crichton's long-running hit TV series ER made medicine compelling to non-doctors (and catapulted the career of actor George Clooney).

More recently, Crichton stoked derision when he questioned the idea that climate change is a crisis. He took a skeptic's position in his 2004 novel, State of Fear, which Publisher's Weekly called an "anti-global warming screed," according to — then went on to meet with President Bush on the topic, the Associated Press notes.

"I have a lot of trouble with things that don't seem true to me," Crichton told the AP that year. "I'm very uncomfortable just accepting. There's something in me that wants to pound the table and say, 'That's not true.'"

In a public debate on global warming last year, Crichton sarcastically described green activists as wealthy hypocrites who didn’t walk their own talk.

"Let’s have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members cannot fly on private jets," Crichton said then, according to excerpts posted on a U.S. Senate Web site. "They must get their houses off the [power] grid. They must live in the way that they're telling everyone else to live. And if they won't do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously?"

Photo by Jo&hercamera, via Flickr