Playful and serious, E.L. Doctorow, author of 'Ragtime' and 'Billy Bathgate,' dies at 84

Associated Press

"Ragtime" author E.L. Doctorow has died in New York. He was 84.

His son, Richard Doctorow, confirms he died Tuesday at a New York hospital from complications of lung cancer.

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Doctorow reimagined the American past and applied its lessons to the present and future. He was best known for his panoramic novel of the turn of the 20th century. Published in 1975, "Ragtime" was later made into a film featuring James Cagney and a Broadway musical.

Doctorow also was known for such novels as "World's Fair," ''Billy Bathgate" and "The March."

Besides to his 10 novels, he published two books of short stories, a play called "Drinks Before Dinner" and numerous essays and articles.