Jason BourneFictional Secret Agent
Best known as: The amnesiac assassin created by Robert Ludlum
Jason Bourne is the fictional hero who first appeared in Robert Ludlum's 1980 book The Bourne Identity. Jason Bourne begins the book as an amnesiac with no knowledge of his identity; he slowly discovers that he was a top-secret killer trained by the American government, which now would like him dead. The novel was a bestseller and spawned two sequels by Ludlum, The Bourne Supremacy (1986) and The Bourne Ultimatum (1990). Several other books in the series, starting with The Bourne Legacy (2004) and The Bourne Betrayal (2007), were written by Eric Van Lustbader after Ludlum's death in 2001. Matt Damon played Bourne in four feature films based on Ludlum's books: The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) and Jason Bourne (2016). Another film in the series, The Bourne Legacy (2012), starred Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, another government agent also on the run from crooked government handlers. Jason Bourne was also played by Richard Chamberlain in the 1988 TV movie The Bourne Identity.
Robert Ludlum said in a 1986 radio interview with CBS Radio’s Don Swaim that he had the idea for Bourne after suffering a brief spell of amnesia himself. “I had lost about 12 hours of my life… either the stresses of just having finished a book or something had led me just to forget, like, 12 hours. And there is a medical term for it, it’s a temporary amnesia.”
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