Timothy LaHaye (April 27, 1926 – July 25, 2016) was an American evangelical minister, author, and public speaker. He founded the San Diego Christian College (then name Christian Heritage College) in 1971, and The Institute for Creation Research in 1972. He was also a political activist, founding the American Coalition for Traditional Values and the Coalition for Religious Freedom in the 1980’s.
He will be best remembered, however, as the co-author, with Jerry B. Jenkins, of the best-selling 16 book religious speculative fiction series, Left Behind, which was inspired by an incident aboard an aircraft upon which LaHaye was a passenger. The first novel opens with a similar scene. The popularity, plot pacing, and characterizations of the series have been likened to Tom Clancy and Stephen King. It established Christian fiction as a significant category in publishing in general.
This can be well-believed by the number of its offspring, including a 40 book set for Young Adults called Left Behind: The Kids, which covers the same basic plots as the original books but features teens in place of adults, a series of five graphic novels, two spin-off series (Left Behind: End of State, a political trilogy by Neesa Hart, and Left Behind: Apocalypse, a 4 book military series by Mel Odom), three Left Behind prequels, a CD, and four video games. There were also four motion pictures, the first three being the original trilogy starring Kirk Cameron, formerly of the pop series Growing Pains, and now a minister in his own right, later followed in 2014 by a remake of the first film, with Nicholas Cage in the lead role.
LaHaye also authored another speculative fiction series, The End Series, based on the Book of Revelations, as well as an Indiana Jones styled series, Babylon Rising.
LaHaye leaves behind (no pun intended) his wife, Beverly, an author herself, and his four children, Linda, Lee, Larry, and Lori.