'Prince of Tides' author Pat Conroy dies at 70

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'Prince Of Tides,' 'The Great Santini' Author Pat Conroy Dies at 70


Author Pat Conroy died of pancreatic cancer on Friday, Doubleday vice president and executive director of publicity Todd Doughty confirmed to the New York Times. He was 70.

Conroy was perhaps best known for mining his tumultuous childhood growing up in coastal South Carolina under an abusive father for fictionalized novels and memoirs, most notably The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Lords of Discipline, all three of which were adapted into major motion pictures.

"One of the greatest gifts you can get as a writer is to be born into an unhappy family," Conroy said in a 1995 Vanity Fair profile. "I could not have been born into a better one."

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'Prince of Tides' author Pat Conroy dies at 70
REMOVES REFERENCE TO COLLECTION DONATED - Author Pat Conroy speaks to a crowd during a ceremony Friday, May 16, 2014 at the Hollings Library in Columbia, S.C. in which Conroy announced that his collection of handwritten manuscripts, personal papers and family memorabilia will go to the University of South Carolina. Dean of University Libraries Tom McNally said the archive was acquired for the university through a donation made by USC alum Richard Smith and his wife Novelle in memory of Richard's mother Dorothy. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
PORT ROYAL, SC - JUNE 12, 2015: Pat Conroy gets to work on the heavy bag throwing several combinations that his trainer Mina Truong taught. They opened their gym, Mina & Conroy Fitness Studio in Port Royal a couple months ago. Mina puts Pat through his paces in a series of exercises when they work out together each day. (Photo by Alex Holt/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
REMOVES REFERENCE TO COLLECTION DONATED - Author Pat Conroy speaks to a crowd during a ceremony Friday, May 16, 2014 at the Hollings Library in Columbia, S.C. in which Conroy announced that his collection of handwritten manuscripts, personal papers and family memorabilia will go to the University of South Carolina. Because the 68-year-old author does not use a typewriter or computer, the collection includes 10,000 handwritten pages of all his varied drafts, from early work "The Water is Wide," through "The Prince of Tides," ''The Lords of Discipline," and "My Reading Life." (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
404945 07: Author Pat Conroy, known best for his book 'Prince of Tides,' discusses his upcoming book at a breakfast held at the BookExpo May 5, 2002 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. (Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)
Author Pat Conroy, right, is interviewed by Walter Edgar at the Township Auditorium as part of the 'One Book, One Columbia' program in Columbia, S.C., on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. The program chooses one book for all of Columbia to read at once and for 2014 chose Conroy's 'My Reading Life.' (Jeff Blake/The State/MCT via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 22: Screenwriter Pat Conroy, actress/singer Barbra Streisand and screenwriter Becky Johnston attend the 44th Annual Writers Guild of America Awards on March 22, 1992 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
ATALANTA;GEORGIA;USA - JANUARY 15: Author Pat Conroy poses while at home in Atlanta,Georgia in the United states of America on the 15th of January 1988. (Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)
CANADA - SEPTEMBER 11: Pat Conroy (Photo by Boris Spremo/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
ATALANTA;GEORGIA;USA - JANUARY 15: Author Pat Conroy poses while at home in Atlanta,Georgia in the United states of America on the 15th of January 1988. (Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)
Stephen King Presents an Evening with Pat Conroy, John Grisham, Stephen King and Peter Straub: A Benefit for Frank Muller and Family 'A Benefit for Frank Muller and Family' at Town Hall in New York City. Pictured L-R: Stephen King, John Grisham, Peter Str
NEW YORK - MAY 26: Author Pat Conroy (R) attends the BookExpo for Knopf cocktail party at The Ramscale Penthouse on May 26, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 26: Author Pat Conroy (L) and editor Nan Talese attend the BookExpo for Knopf cocktail party at The Ramscale Penthouse on May 26, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)
Jenny Cellars hands best selling author Pat Conroy a copy of his recent book, "My Losing Season," Friday, Nov. 8, 2002, at a book signing at Conroy's alma mater, The Citadel Military College in Charleston, S.C. Alexis Bornhorst , second from left, looks at the book as her father, David Bornhorst, who is featured in the book and played basketball with Conroy at the Citadel, sits directly behind Conroy. Also seated behind Conroy are fellow teammates, from left, Greg Connor and Danny Mohr. They are also featured in "My Losing Season". (AP Photo/Paula Illingworth)
FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2000 file photo, author Pat Conroy receives an honorary doctor of letters degree during a ceremony on the parade grounds of The Citadel, in Charleston, S.C. Presenting the honorary degree is Leonard Fulghum, chairman of the college's governing board, left. Conroy, whose best-selling novels drew from his own sometimes painful experiences and evoked vistas of the South Carolina coast and its people, has died at age 70. Todd Doughty, executive director of publicity at publisher Doubleday, says Conroy died Friday evening, March 4, 2016, at his home in Beaufort surrounded by family and loved ones. (AP Photo/Lou Krasky, File)
Best selling author Pat Conroy, center, talks with fellow marchers Paula Byers, left, and Sandye Williams who wear "take it down" t-shirts Sunday, April 2, 2000, in Charleston, S.C., before the start of a march protesting the flying of the Confederate flag over the South Carolina Statehouse. More than 600 people set out Sunday on a five-day, 120-mile protest march from Charleston to Columbia, S.C., to urge state lawmakers to move the Confederate Flag from the Statehouse dome. (AP Photo/Paula Illingworth)
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While his books caused tension within Conroy's family, the film adaptations increased his popularity amongst the pantheon of notable American authors. Barbra Streisand directed and starred in the film adaptation of The Prince of Tides, opposite Nick Nolte as the novel's protagonist. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 1991 Academy Awards.

"I write a straight story line, and I guess that's what they need," Conroy told Publishers Weekly in 1986. "The dialogue also seems to be serviceable in a Hollywood way. But most important, I do the thing that Southerners do naturally -- I tell stories."

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Just a few weeks ago, Conroy announced his cancer diagnosis on his Facebook page.

"I celebrated my 70th birthday in October and realized that I've spent my whole writing life trying to find out who I am and I don't believe I've even come close," the author wrote on Feb. 15. "It was in Beaufort in sight of a river's sinuous turn, and the movements of its dolphin-proud tides that I began to discover myself and where my life began at fifteen."

Hey out there,I celebrated my 70th birthday in October and realized that I've spent my whole writing life trying to...

Posted by Pat Conroy on Monday, February 15, 2016

"I have recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer," he continued. "With the help of the wonderful people at M.D. Anderson I intend to fight it hard. I am grateful to all my beloved readers, my friends and my family for their prayers. I owe you a novel and I intend to deliver it."

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South Carolina governor Nikki Haley posted her condolences on Twitter on Friday night.

"South Carolina lost a beloved son tonight," Haley tweeted. "Pat Conroy will be missed. We can find comfort knowing his words and love for SC will live on."

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