Clancy, who died Tuesday in a Baltimore Hospital,was known for his outspokenness and wit. He said in a 2009 speech to the Hudson Union Society that becoming a celebrity gave him insights that changed his opinion.
“One of the bad things about becoming rich and famous is before this happens, you think, ‘Those people we have in the Senate and the White House, they’re for the most part intelligent, hard-working people who want to do the best they can for their country,” Clancy said. “Then you meet the bastards.”
In that same speech, Clancy said government was only good at two things.
"America is the American economy. It's the American spirt," Clancy said. "Those are not wholly-owned subsidiaries of the American government. The only two things the American government does well is take money and kill people. Taking money it's supremely good at."
Clancy was an insurance salesman when he sold his first novel.
In an undated interview with American Movie Classics, Clancy discussed giving up a day job to write.
“What happened to me was pure dumb luck – I’m not the new Hemingway,” Clancy said in the AMC interview. “Of course, fortune does favor the brave. In battle, you forgive a man anything except an unwillingness to take risks. Sometimes you have to put it on the line. What I did was take time away from how I earned my living. My wife gave me hell – ‘Why are you doing this?’ – but she doesn’t complain anymore. I wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. If your name is in the Library of Congress, you’re immortal.”