“Colleen McCullough, 77, a former neurophysiological researcher at Yale who, deciding to write novels in her spare time, produced “The Thorn Birds,” a multigenerational Australian romance that became an international best seller and inspired a hugely popular television mini-series, died on Thursday on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, where she had made her home for more than 30 years,” reports The New York Times.
The story adds, “The cause was believed to have been kidney failure, her agent, Michael V. Carlisle, said. Ms. McCullough had been in declining health with a variety of ailments in recent years.”
The novel has sold 30 million copies since it was published in 1977, and has never been out of print.
Richard Chamberlain and Byron Brown were both in the mini-series.
Here are some comments from both of them from a 2013 interview we found on a Bay Area site:
Richard Chamberlain: I took my parents to Switzerland once and we were way on the top of some mountain and some Swiss person came up and said, ‘Oh, “The Thorn Birds…”‘ And my father was suddenly impressed for the very first time in his life. He said, ‘Oh, my God, they know you on a mountaintop in Switzerland. You must be something.’
Bryon Brown: And that is the truth. It is as silly as that: that in the most faraway place and when you don’t look like you in the middle of a ski field and you say something and they go, ‘I love that “Thorn Birds.”‘ And you’re thinking, ‘How the f**k do you know it’s me?’