Caleb Carr Dies: Here’s What You Need To Know


At his Cherry Plains, New York, home, Caleb Carr, whose best-selling 1994 book The Alienist led to its adaptation into a 10-episode limited series on TNT, passed away on Thursday from cancer. He was sixty-eight.

His brother Ethan Carr informed The New York Times of his passing.

Carr was born on August 2, 1955, into a violent and abusive household in New York City. His father, Beat Generation journalist Lucien Carr, was found guilty of manslaughter in 1944 for the murder of a man who was considered a sexual predator at the time. The 2013 movie Kill Your Darlings, which starred Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan, was based on the deadly stabbing, which made headlines and history due in part to the assistance of Lucien’s friend and Columbia University classmate Jack Kerouac in getting rid of the knife.

Caleb Carr would subsequently claim that the event, combined with his own father’s abuse of him as a youngster, gave rise to a lifelong fixation with violence, which he creatively expressed in The Alienist. The highly regarded and well-read book took place in 19th-century New York City and centred on a child psychiatrist—referred to as an “alienist” in the vernacular of the time—who was trying to figure out why young prostitutes were being killed one after another.

Pre-publication word of the book was so strong that Hollywood producer Scott Rudin paid an estimated half a million dollars to get the film rights. Soon after, Paramount Pictures became involved in the project. Although directors Curtis Hanson and playwright David Henry Hwang were attached, the costly film adaptation never got off the ground and finally vanished completely.

In 2018, TNT premiered a limited series adaptation of the novel, starring Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans, and Daniel Brühl, more than ten years after it was first published. In 2020, TNT aired a second series that was based on Carr’s 1997 follow-up The Angel of Darkness.

Carr authored seven books in all, including the best-selling contemporary thriller book Surrender, New York (2016), several non-fiction works, and the memoir My Beloved Monster: Masha, the Half-wild Rescue Cat Who Saved Me, which was published in 2024.

The brothers Simon and Ethan, the stepsisters Hilda, Jennifer, and Christine Speicher, and the mother Francesca Cote are among the survivors. After 47 years as an editor for UPI, Lucien Carr passed away in 2005. Carr was sentenced to two years in a reformatory for the 1944 murder of his stalker David Kammerer on the Upper West Side.

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