Henry Morrison, the longtime literary agent who represented authors Samuel R. Delany, Dean Koontz, and Robert Ludlum, died November 2. He was 86.

A New York native, Morrison learned the publishing business working nine years at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, which represented professional writers, while running a sideline reading hopefuls’ manuscripts for a fee. Never comfortable with the fee-reading sideline, Morrison struck out on his own before he turned 30.

For the next 55 years, characters and storylines in the books and films whose rights Morrison sold became household American names, Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne and David Morrell's Rambo among them. A particularly prolific agent in the crime and thriller genres, other authors in the space Morrison represented included Brian Garfield, Dean Koontz, Eric van Lustbader, Lawrence Block, and Donald E. Westlake. He also represented the science fiction writers Samuel R. Delany (one of his earliest clients) and Roger Zelazny. His well-rewarded midlist writers won multiple Edgars and served as Mystery Writers of America presidents, Grandmasters, and International ThrillerMasters.

Morrison was a pioneer in direct sales of foreign rights, using the telephone to negotiate directly with European and Japanese publishers, and correctly pinpointed the mass market paperback as an opportune tool with which to build young writers’ careers. Repeatedly finding his clients windfalls in Hollywood, Morrison had an uncanny sense of the market on both coasts.

Morrison retired only recently, when failing eyesight made it impossible to read, choosing agent John Silbersack as his successor. Morrison is survived by his wife, Helene; a niece, Stacey Stolar, and great-niece, Sarah Stolar; and a stepson, Michael Wendroff, along with his wife, Diane, and their children, Alessandra, Gabrielle, and Hunter.