Random House sued astronomer Carl Sagan's estate and widow for the return of more than $1.2 million in advances - plus interest - for books he never completed.

Sagan, who died Dec. 20, 1996, at age 62 from a bone marrow disease, was a Cornell University professor whose writings and television shows helped make the heavens a little less mysterious to the public.Random House said in papers filed in Manhattan's State Supreme Court that the publisher and the Pulitzer Prize-winning star gazer agreed on a $4 million, four-book contract on April 12, 1983.

Contract amendments over the next several years included naming Sagan's wife, Ann Druyan, as an author, and providing for the authors to pay Random House interest on the advances if the books were not delivered on time.

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