Author Thomas Steinbeck dies at 72

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2002, file photo, Thomas Steinbeck speaks to a crowd at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, Calif., to celebrate what would have been his fathers, author John Steinbeck's 100th birthday. Thomas Steinbeck, the eldest son of John Steinbeck and an author in his own right, died Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, at his California home, the family said through a representative. He was 72. (Richard Green/The Californian, File)


LOS ANGELES — Thomas Steinbeck, eldest son of Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck and a prominent author and screenwriter in his own right, has died at age 72.

Stephanie Hornback of Carway Communications says "The Grapes of Wrath" author's son died Thursday at his home in Santa Barbara, California. The cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Steinbeck began his own career as an author relatively late in life.

His first book, "Down to a Soundless Sea," a collection of short stories, was published in 2002.

He published the novels "In the Shadow of the Cypress" in 2010 and "The Silver Lotus in 2011.

He was working on a memoir when he died.

Steinbeck also wrote and produced several films based on his father's books.