Leonard at the 70th Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon, 2011
|Born||Elmore John Leonard Jr.|
October 11, 1925
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Died||August 20, 2013 (aged 87)|
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Detroit|
|Children||5, including Peter Leonard|
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1943-1946|
|Rank||Petty Officer 3rd Class|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Elmore John Leonard Jr. (October 11, 1925 – August 20, 2013) was an American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. His earliest novels, published in the 1950s, were Westerns, but he went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into motion pictures.
Among his best-known works are Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Swag, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk, and Rum Punch (adapted as the film Jackie Brown). Leonard's writings include short stories that became the films 3:10 to Yuma and The Tall T, as well as the FX television series Justified.
Leonard was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Flora Amelia (née Rive) and Elmore John Leonard, Sr. Because his father worked as a site locator for General Motors, the family moved frequently for several years. In 1934, the family settled in Detroit.
He graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1943 and, after being rejected for the Marines for weak eyesight, immediately joined the Navy, where he served with the Seabees for three years in the South Pacific (gaining the nickname "Dutch", after pitcher Dutch Leonard). Enrolling at the University of Detroit in 1946, he pursued writing more seriously, entering his work in short story contests and submitting it to magazines for publication. He graduated in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in English and philosophy. A year before he graduated, he got a job as a copy writer with Campbell-Ewald Advertising Agency, a position he kept for several years, writing on the side.
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Leonard received his first break in the fiction market during the 1950s, regularly publishing pulp Western novels. He had his first success in 1951 when Argosy published the short story "Trail of the Apaches.":29 During the 1950s and early 1960s, he continued writing Westerns, publishing more than 30 short stories. He wrote his first novel, The Bounty Hunters, in 1953 and followed this with four other novels. His western novels had already begun to portray his fondness for culturally diverse outsiders and underdogs. He often developed his characters through dialogue, each defined by means of his speech. For many of his stories he favored Arizona and New Mexico settings. Five of his westerns were turned into major movies before 1972: The Tall T (Randolph Scott), 3:10 to Yuma (Glenn Ford), Hombre (Paul Newman), Valdez Is Coming (Burt Lancaster), and Joe Kidd (Clint Eastwood).
In 1969 his first crime story titled The Big Bounce was published by Gold Medal Books. Leonard was different from the well-known names writing in this genre, such as Raymond Chandler or any of the other famous noir writers - no melodrama and pessimism, but more interested in his characters and in realistic dialogue. The stories were often located in Detroit, but apart from his favorite setting he also liked to use South Florida as a setting. La Brava, a novel set there published 1983, was also the occasion for a New York Times review, in which Leonard moved from a mystery suspense writer into a novelist. His next book, an Atlantic City gambling story published in 1985 and titled Glitz, was his breakout in the crime genre. It spent 16 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list. Other crime novels that followed were all best sellers, as well. In his review of Glitz, Stephen King placed him in the same company as John MacDonald, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, but Leonard felt more influenced by Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. Leonard believed that his books during the 1980s were becoming more humorous and that he was developing a style that was more free and easy. His own favorites were the Dixie Mafia story Tishomingo Blues from 2002 and Freaky Deaky from 1988 about ex-hippie criminals. There are some of his characters parts of different novels like Hollywood mobster Chili Palmer, bank robber Jack Foley or the both U. S. Marshals Carl Webster and Raylan Givens. His crime books were published amongst others by Fawcett Publications, Bantam Books and Dell Publishing. In the 1980s his publisher was Arbor House, later also William Morrow & Company as an imprint of HarperCollins. There are different reprints from his novels, so in the 2000s from Weidenfeld & Nicolson. At the time of his death his novels had sold tens of millions of copies.
Among film adaptations of his work are Jackie Brown (starring Pam Grier, directed by Quentin Tarantino) which is a "homage to the author's trademark rhythm and pace";Get Shorty (1995, John Travolta and Gene Hackman); Out of Sight (1998, George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, directed by Steven Soderbergh) and the television series Justified. Nearly thirty movies were made from Leonard's novels, but for some critics his special style worked only in print.
He married Beverly Clare Cline in 1949, and they had five children together--two daughters and three sons--before divorcing in 1977. His second marriage in 1979, to Joan Leanne Lancaster (aka Joan Shepard), ended with her death in 1993. Later that same year, he married Christine Kent and they divorced in 2012.
Leonard spent the last years of his life with his family in Oakland County, Michigan. He suffered a stroke on July 29, 2013. Initial reports stated that Leonard was recovering  but on August 20, 2013, Leonard died at his home in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills of stroke complications. He was 87 years old. Leonard is survived by his five children, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Commended by critics for his gritty realism and strong dialogue, Leonard sometimes took liberties with grammar in the interest of speeding the story along. In his essay "Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing" he said: "My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." He also hinted: "I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip."
Elmore Leonard has been called "the Dickens of Detroit" because of his intimate portraits of people from that city, though he said, "If I lived in Buffalo, I'd write about Buffalo.": 90 His favorite epithet was one given by Britain's New Musical Express: "the poet laureate of wild assholes with revolvers". His ear for dialogue has been praised by writers such as Saul Bellow, Martin Amis, and Stephen King. "Your prose makes Raymond Chandler look clumsy," Amis told Leonard at a Writers Guild event in Beverly Hills in 1998. Stephen King has called him "the great American writer." According to Charles Rzepka of Boston University, Leonard's mastery of free indirect discourse, a third-person narrative technique that gives the illusion of immediate access to a character's thoughts, "is unsurpassed in our time, and among the surest of all time, even if we include Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, and Hemingway in the mix." 
Leonard often cited Ernest Hemingway as perhaps his single most important influence, but at the same time criticized Hemingway for his lack of humor and for taking himself too seriously. Still, it was Leonard's affection for Hemingway, as well as George V. Higgins, that led him to will his personal papers to the University of South Carolina, where many of Hemingway's and Higgins' papers are archived. Leonard's papers reside at the university's Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
Leonard in turn had a very strong influence on a generation of crime writers that followed him. His obituary in USA Today named George Pelecanos, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, and Laura Lippman.
|1953||The Bounty Hunters||ISBN 0-380-82225-3|
|1954||The Law at Randado||1990 - Border Shootout||ISBN 0-062-28950-0|
|1956||Escape from Five Shadows||ISBN 0-060-01348-6|
|1959||Last Stand at Saber River||1997 - Last Stand at Saber River||ISBN 0-062-28948-9|
|1961||Hombre||1967 - Hombre||ISBN 0-062-20611-7|
|1969||The Big Bounce||1969 - The Big Bounce
2004 - The Big Bounce
|The Moonshine War||1970 - The Moonshine War||ISBN 0-062-20898-5|
|1970||Valdez Is Coming||1971 - Valdez Is Coming||ISBN 0-062-22785-8|
|1972||Forty Lashes Less One||ISBN 0-062-28949-7|
|1974||Mr. Majestyk||1974 - Mr. Majestyk||ISBN 0-062-18840-2|
|Fifty-Two Pickup||1984 - The Ambassador
1986 - 52 Pick-Up
|1977||Unknown Man No. 89||ISBN 0-062-18928-X|
|The Hunted||ISBN 0-062-18841-0|
|1978||The Switch||2013 - Life of Crime||ISBN 0-062-20613-3|
|1980||City Primeval||ISBN 0-062-19135-7|
|Gold Coast||1997 - TV movie||ISBN 0-062-20609-5|
|1981||Split Images||1992 - TV movie||ISBN 0-688-16971-6|
|1982||Cat Chaser||1989 - Cat Chaser||ISBN 0-060-51222-9|
|1983||Stick||1985 - Stick||ISBN 0-062-18435-0|
Edgar Award, Best Novel (1984)
|1985||Glitz||1988 - TV movie||ISBN 0-062-12158-8|
|Touch||1997 - Touch||ISBN 0-062-26598-9|
|1988||Freaky Deaky||2012 - Freaky Deaky||ISBN 0-062-12035-2|
|1989||Killshot||2009 - Killshot||ISBN 0-688-16638-5|
|1990||Get Shorty||1995 - Get Shorty
2017 - TV series Get Shorty
|1991||Maximum Bob||1998 - TV series Maximum Bob||ISBN 0-062-00940-0|
|1992||Rum Punch||1997 - Jackie Brown||ISBN 0-062-11982-6|
|1993||Pronto||1997 - TV movie
2010 - TV series Justified
|1995||Riding the Rap||2010 - TV series Justified||ISBN 0-062-02029-3|
|1996||Out of Sight||1998 - Out of Sight
2003 - TV series Karen Sisco
|1998||Cuba Libre||ISBN 0-062-18429-6|
|1999||Be Cool||2005 - Be Cool||ISBN 0-060-77706-0|
|2000||Pagan Babies||ISBN 0-062-26601-2|
|2002||Tishomingo Blues||ISBN 0-062-00939-7|
|2004||Mr. Paradise||ISBN 0-060-59807-7|
|A Coyote's in the House||ISBN 0-141-31688-8|
|2005||The Hot Kid||ISBN 0-060-72423-4|
|2006||Comfort to the Enemy
Published serially in New York Times
|2007||Up in Honey's Room||ISBN 0-060-72426-9|
|2009||Road Dogs||ISBN 0-061-98570-8|
|2012||Raylan||2010 - TV series Justified||ISBN 0-062-11947-8|
|1998||The Tonto Woman and Other Western Stories||ISBN 0-385-32387-5|
|2002||When the Women Come Out to Dance
Later reprint retitled Fire in the Hole
|2004||The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard||ISBN 0-060-72425-0|
|2006||Moment of Vengeance and Other Stories||ISBN 0-060-72428-5|
|2006||Blood Money and Other Stories||ISBN 0-06-125487-8|
|2006||Three Ten To Yuma and Other Stories||ISBN 0-06-133677-7|
|2007||Trail of the Apache and Other Stories||ISBN 0-06-112165-7|
|2009||Comfort to the Enemy and Other Carl Webster Stories||ISBN 0-297-85668-5|
|2014||Charlie Martz and Other Stories: The Unpublished Stories of Elmore Leonard||ISBN 0-297-60979-3|
|Year||Story||First appearance||Film adaptation|
|1953-03||"Three-Ten to Yuma"||Dime Western Magazine||1957 - 3:10 to Yuma |
2007 - 3:10 to Yuma
|1955-02||"The Captives"||Argosy||1957 - The Tall T|
|1982||"The Tonto Woman"||Roundup||2007 - Academy Awards nominated Live Action Short|
|1996||"Karen Makes Out"||Murder For Love - Delacorte Press 1996||First episode in Karen Sisco TV series|
|2001||"Fire in the Hole"||ebook (ISBN 0-062-12034-4)||2010 - TV series Justified|
|2001||"Chickasaw Charlie Hoke"||Murderers' Row: Original Baseball Mysteries |
|2005||"Louly and Pretty Boy"||Dangerous Women - Mysterious Press 1996|
|1970||The Moonshine War||Richard Quine|
|1972||Joe Kidd||John Sturges|
|1974||Mr. Majestyk||Richard Fleischer|
|1980||High Noon, Part II (TV)||Jerry Jameson|
|1985||Stick||Burt Reynolds||Joseph Stinson|
|1986||52 Pick-Up||John Frankenheimer||John Steppling|
|1987||The Rosary Murders||Fred Walton||William X. Kienzle & Fred Walton|
|Desperado (TV Movie)||Virgil W. Vogel|
|1989||Cat Chaser||Abel Ferrara||James Borelli|
Twenty-six of Leonard's novels and short stories have been adapted for the screen (19 as motion pictures and another seven as television programs).
Aside from the short stories already noted, a number of Leonard's novels have been adapted as films, including Get Shorty (1990 novel, 1995 film), Out of Sight (1996 novel, 1998 film), and Rum Punch (1992 novel, 1997 film Jackie Brown). 52 Pick-Up (1986 film) was first adapted very loosely into the 1984 film The Ambassador (1984), starring Robert Mitchum and, two years later, under its original title starring Roy Scheider. Leonard has also written several screenplays based on his novels, plus original screenplays such as Joe Kidd (1972).
Other novels filmed include: