Born: 11 October 1925
Died: 20 August 2013 (complications from a stroke)
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
Best known as: The author of Get Shorty and other funny crime novels
Elmore Leonard was the author of more than 40 crime and western novels and was known especially for his crackling dialogue and dark humor. He was a top-selling writer from the 1980s through his death in 2013; his best-known book may be Get Shorty (1991), the tale of a small-time Florida hood who goes to Hollywood to break a few thumbs and stays to break into the movies. Elmore Leonard had already had a steady career in advertising when he began writing western short stories early in the 1950s. Trail of the Apache was his first to be published, in the magazine Argosy, in 1951. His first novel was The Bounty Hunter in 1953. Leonard's hit 1961 novel Hombre was turned into a movie starring Paul Newman (1967) and allowed Leonard to write novels full-time. He began adding fast-paced modern crime stories to the mix with The Big Bounce (1969). Elmore Leonard began getting noticed by reviewers and critics in the 1970s, and by the time of Stick (1983) he was a bankable author with a signature taste for heroes who were just out of, or maybe headed back toward, jail. Elmore Leonard stories often feature the misadventures of those amiable-but-crooked protagonists along with lowlifes, thieves, hustlers, bail bondsmen and loan sharks. His later novels include Glitz (1985), Freaky Deaky (1988), Tishomingo Blues (2002), The Hot Kid (2005), Road Dogs (2009) and Djibouti (2010). Films made from his novels include: Hombre (1967), Valdez is Coming (1971, starring Burt Lancaster), Get Shorty (1995, starring John Travolta), Jackie Brown (1997, starring Pam Grier, from the 1992 novel Rum Punch), Out of Sight (1998, starring George Clooney as bank robber Jack Foley, and Jennifer Lopez), and The Big Bounce (2004, starring Owen Wilson). Elmore Leonard died on August 20, 2013, three weeks after suffering a stroke.
Elmore Leonard wrote several screenplays, including Joe Kidd (1972, starring Clint Eastwood) and Mr. Majestyk (1974, starring Charles Bronson)… Elmore Leonard was also referred to as “Dutch,” a childhood nickname… Out of Sight was the basis for the 2003 television series Karen Sisco. Jack Foley, the bank-robbing hero of Out of Sight, reappeared in Leonard’s 2009 novel Road Dogs… His 1953 short story Three Ten to Yuma was published in Dime Western magazine and has since been filmed twice: in 1957 (starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin) and in 2007 (with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale).
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