August 20, 2013

Elmore Leonard, master of the crime novel, dies at 87

The Associated Press

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"When something sounds like writing, I rewrite it," Elmore Leonard often said.


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In this March 1983 photo, Elmore Leonard sits by his typewriter at his home in Michigan. Leonard wrote in longhand on unlined yellow pads that were custom-made for him, and when he finished a page he transferred the words onto a separate piece of paper using the typewriter.


Additional Photos Below

Novels by Elmore Leonard:
  • "The Bounty Hunters," 1953
  • "The Law at Randado," 1954
  • "Escape from Five Shadows," 1956
  • "Last Stand at Saber River," 1959
  • "Hombre," 1961
  • "The Big Bounce," 1969
  • "The Moonshine War," 1969
  • "Valdez is Coming," 1970
  • "Forty Lashes Less One," 1972
  • "Mr. Majestyk," 1974
  • "Fifty-Two Pickup," 1974
  • "Swag," 1976
  • "Unknown Man No. 89," 1977
  • "The Hunted," 1977
  • "The Switch," 1978
  • "Gunsights," 1979
  • "City Primeval," 1980
  • "Gold Coast," 1980
  • "Split Images," 1981
  • "Cat Chaser," 1982
  • "Stick," 1983
  • "LaBrava," 1983
  • "Glitz," 1985
  • "Bandits," 1987
  • "Tough," 1987
  • "Freaky Deaky," 1988
  • "Killshot," 1989
  • "Get Shorty," 1990
  • "Maximum Bob," 1991
  • "Rum Punch," 1992
  • "Pronto," 1993
  • "Riding the Rap," 1995
  • "Out of Sight," 1996
  • "Cuba Libre," 1998
  • "Be Cool," 1999
  • "Pagan Babies," 2000
  • "Tishomingo Blues," 2002
  • "Mr. Paradise," 2004
  • "A Coyote's In the House," 2004
  • "The Hot Kid," 2005
  • "Up in Honey's Room," 2007
  • "Comfort to the Enemy,"2009
  • "Road Dogs,"2009
  • "Djibouti," 2010
  • "Raylan," 2011
  • Source:


"Hombre" became a pretty good movie starring Paul Newman, and the book was named one of the greatest Westerns of all time by the Western Writers of America.

Soon, another Leonard Western, "Valdez Is Coming," became a star vehicle for Burt Lancaster. But as the 1960s ended, the market for Westerns fizzled. Leonard wrote five more, but they sold poorly, and Hollywood lost interest.

Leonard was born in New Orleans on Oct. 11, 1925, the son of General Motors executive Elmore John Leonard and his wife, Flora.

The family settled near Detroit when young Elmore was a boy. The tough, undersized young man played quarterback in high school and earned the nickname "Dutch," after Emil "Dutch" Leonard, a knuckleball pitcher of the day. The ballplayer's card sat for years in the writer's study on one of the shelves lined with copies of his books.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he majored in English at the University of Detroit. He started writing copy for an advertising agency before his graduation in 1950.

He married three times and had five children.

His son, Peter, followed in his father's path, going into advertising for years before achieving his own success as a novelist with his 2008 debut, "Quiver."

A visitation was scheduled for Friday in the Detroit suburb of Clawson, to be followed by a funeral Mass Saturday in nearby Birmingham.

In 2012, after learning he was to become a National Book Award lifetime achievement recipient, Leonard said he had no intention of ending his life's work.

"I probably won't quit until I just quit everything — quit my life — because it's all I know how to do," he told the AP at the time. "And it's fun. I do have fun writing, and a long time ago, I told myself, 'You got to have fun at this, or it'll drive you nuts.'"

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Elmore Leonard, shown in this September 2012 photo, was a former adman who later in life became one of America's foremost crime writers.



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