Elmore Leonard Has Died

August 23, 2013

Elmore Leonard

Crime novelist Elmore Leonard, 87, died on August 20th due to complications from a stroke. Well known for his action and dialogue-driven brevity, his most celebrated works include the novel Get Shorty and the short story “3:10 to Yuma”; both became blockbuster hits on the silver screen. Steven Soderbergh turned Leonard’s novel Out of Sight into a movie starring George Clooney. His novel Rum Punch was also Quentin Tarantino’s inspiration for the movie Jackie Brown. Leonard’s creations were some of the most beloved rugged characters of modern fiction; Raylan Givens, the contentious federal marshal (whom the television series Justified is based around, for which Leonard was an executive producer and writer); Chili Palmer, the colorful Hollywood hopeful; and suave bank robber Jack Foley are but a few examples of why Elmore Leonard was revered by writers and readers alike.

“There was, is, and will be only one Elmore Leonard. He was the most original in this prolific age of American crime fiction, the original jazz man,” said David Highfill, Leonard’s editor. “His voice, sly, gentle, funny, often startling, always human will speak to readers for generations to come through…so many other unforgettable characters.”

Leonard’s accolades include the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America, a Peabody award, and last year, the National Book Foundation granted him the 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in recognition of his fiction. Leonard once remarked, when asked for the secret of his success, “My purpose is to entertain and please myself. I feel that if I am entertained, then there will be enough other readers who will be entertained, too.” His discerning advice in the well known book Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, states, "My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."

He is survived by his wife and children.

Photo: AP
Sources: USA Today, CNN
Links: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/08/20/author-elmore-leonard-dies-at-87/2676101/ ; http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/20/showbiz/elmore-leonard-obit/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

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