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Robert Ludlum

Suspense novelist Robert Ludlum, whose Jason Bourne series of spy thrillers and “The Matarese Circle” have been finding their way to TV and film, and who acted on Broadway and TV soap operas during the 1950s, died Monday of undisclosed causes in Naples, Fla. He was 73.

Ludlum started his career in the theater, both before and after service in the Pacific during WWII, by working as an actor and later a producer until he published his first book, “The Scarlatti Inheritance,” in 1971. That was followed by 20 novels.

One of his most popular series began with “The Bourne Identity” — an upcoming film adaptation starring Matt Damon recently completed principal photography.

As an actor, Ludlum performed minor roles on Broadway and appeared in television dramas in the 1950s. He opened the Playhouse-on-the-Mall in Paramus, N.J., in 1960, where he produced “The Owl and the Pussycat,” which featured then-unknown actor Alan Alda.

Ludlum is survived by his wife, actress Mary Ryducha; two sons; and a daughter.

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