Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...

updated 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

>Michael Crichton

AMERICA'S TALLEST, RICHEST WRITER?

INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY TOLD TO him in 1988, Michael Crichton, 51, was already at work on Disclosure when the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas debates began. "I watched them with some anxiety," he recalls, "in case they reached a level of sophistication that would interfere with what I was trying lo do. But of course, they didn't." Yet unlike every other American, he will venture no opinion as lo whose version he believes: "Nobody," he says, "except those two people knows what happened."

Crichton is less reluctant to address the larger issue of the battle of the sexes. "In my lifetime, the way college-educated white women have been perceived has dramatically expanded," he says. "In contrast, the perception of males has contracted into an emotionally closed and physically violent stereotype."

Though he has been described as "the tallest, richest" writer in America, Crichton, who lives in L.A. with his fourth wife, actress Anne-Marie Martin, 36, hesitates lo claim either title. "For many years, it was between Galbraith and me for height," says the 6'9" M.D. turned author. "Richest, I'm not even in the ballpark. Must be Stephen King."

Given the protests that greeted Rising Sun, Crichton is understandably nervous about reactions to Disclosure. "While I was working, I felt it was difficult to make any statement that wouldn't be controversial," he says. Now that it's out, will he go into hiding or come out punching? "I wrote the book to stimulate debate," he says. "So I'll sit this one out. Maybe in a bomb shelter."

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