We here at the Monkey sadly note the passing of a great American author, Elmore Leonard. If you haven't read his novels (and you should have), you've probably at least heard of some of the movies based on them: 3:10 to Yuma, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown (based on Rum Punch), and television's Justified, among others.
Born in New Orleans, Leonard grew up in Detroit, and after serving in the Navy during World War II, graduated from the University in Detroit where he majored in English and philosophy. He sold his first short story, "Trail of the Apaches," in 1951 and spent the rest of the decade specializing in Westerns, including The Tall T and 3:10 To Yuma, both of which were made into movies, the former starring Randolph Scott, the latter, Glenn Ford and Van Heflin (remade in 2007 with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe).
Eventually, he switched to gritty crime dramas that featured witty dialogue and the sorts of miscreants one is more apt to meet in real life than in the usual fiction, which is say habitual criminals only half as smart as they think they are.
Nineteen of his novels or short stories were adapted into movies, and another seven as television series.
Leonard's best tip for aspiring writers: "Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip."
Leonard died this morning after suffering a stroke late last month.
Named for Katie-Bar-The-Door, the Katies are "alternate Oscars"—who should have been nominated, who should have won—but really they're just an excuse to write a history of the movies from the Silent Era to the present day.
To see a list of nominees and winners by decade, as well as links to my essays about them, click the highlighted links:
Look at me—Joe College, with a touch of arthritis. Are my eyes really brown? Uh, no, they're green. Would we have the nerve to dive into the icy water and save a person from drowning? That's a key question. I, of course, can't swim, so I never have to face it. Say, haven't you anything better to do than to keep popping in here early every morning and asking a lot of fool questions?