Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)

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.


Beveridge D. Spenser said...

By coincidence, I just watched 52 Pick Up last Saturday. I hadn't read the book, but it seemed like a very true translation of his style. So was Get Shorty I suppose, but not in the same way...

Maggie said...

How sad. He was a terrific writer.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I loved him until I heard he got up at 5 every morning to write until 7 and then go to his day job. And then i kind of hated him.