Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard

Infobox Writer
name = Elmore Leonard
birthdate=Birth date and age|1925|10|11|mf=y
birthplace = New Orleans, Louisiana
occupation= author, screenwriter
genre= Pulp fiction, Westerns, crime fiction

Elmore John Leonard, Jr. (born October 11, 1925) is a popular and acclaimed American novelist and screenwriter.

His earliest published novels in the 1950s were westerns, and Leonard went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, several of which have been adapted into successful motion pictures or TV movies.


While Leonard was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, his father worked as a site locator for General Motors, and the family moved frequently for several years, until 1934, when the family finally settled in Detroit, Michigan. Leonard has made this area his home ever since.

In the 1930s, two major events occurred that would influence many of his works. Gangsters such as Bonnie and Clyde were making national headlines, as were the Detroit Tigers baseball team. From about 1931 to 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were on a rampage; they were killed in May 1934. The Tigers made it to the World Series in 1934. Leonard turned these events into lifelong fascinations with both sports and guns.

Leonard graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1943 and immediately joined the Navy, where he served with the Seabees for three years in the south Pacific. In 1946 he enrolled at the University of Detroit, where he pursued writing more seriously, entering his work in short story contests and sending it off to magazines. 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 as he wrote on the side. He graduated in 1950 with a degree in English and Philosophy.

Leonard had his first success in 1951 when "Argosy" published the short story "Trail of the Apache." During the '50s and early '60s, he continued writing westerns, publishing over 30 short stories. He wrote his first novel, "The Bounty Hunters," in 1953 and followed this with four other novels. Two of his stories were turned into movies at this time, "The Tall T" and "".

Leonard—or "Dutch," as he is sometimes called—got his first break in the fiction market during the 1950s, regularly publishing pulp western novels. He has since forayed into mystery, crime, and more topical genres, as well as screenwriting.

Leonard now lives with his family in Oakland County, Michigan.

Writing style

He has been commended by critics for his gritty realism and strong dialogue. His writing style sometimes takes liberties with grammar in the interest of speeding along the story. In his essay, "Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing," he writes, "My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." Also on the subject of what makes his books so readable, he has said that he leaves out the parts that readers skip. [ [http://www.elmoreleonard.com/index.php?/forums/viewthread/20 Category | Error ] ]

Leonard has been called "the Dickens of Detroit" because of his intimate portraits of people from that city. Leonard's ear for dialogue and ability to render same on the printed page are uncanny and have 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 Theatre event in Beverly Hills in 1998. [http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/tuleonard.html]

Film work

Aside from the short stories already noted, a number of Leonard's novels have been adapted as films, perhaps most notably "Out of Sight", "Get Shorty" in 1995, and "Rum Punch" (as the 1997 film "Jackie Brown"). He has also written several screenplays.

The 1967 film "Hombre" starring Paul Newman was an adaptation of Leonard's novel of the same name.

His short story "Three-Ten to Yuma" and book "The Big Bounce" have each been filmed twice.

Other novels filmed include: "Mr. Majestyk" (with Charles Bronson), "Valdez Is Coming" (Burt Lancaster), "52 Pick-Up" (Roy Scheider), "Stick" (Burt Reynolds), "Moonshine War" (Alan Alda), "Last Stand at Saber River" (Tom Selleck), "Gold Coast" (David Caruso), "Glitz" (Jimmy Smits), "Cat Chaser" (Peter Weller), "Touch" (Christopher Walken), "Pronto" (Peter Falk) and "Be Cool" (John Travolta). A version of "Killshot" with Diane Lane is due out in 2008.

The TV series "Karen Sisco" (2003-04) starring Carla Gugino was based on the character from "Out of Sight" played by Jennifer Lopez.

A 2001 comedy film, "Bandits" was originally meant to be an adaptation of Leonard's novel by that name, to which Bruce Willis owns the film rights. However, the producers brought in writer Harley Peyton to write a new script from scratch.

An adaptation of Leonard's 1972 novel "Forty Lashes Less One" is currently in development.



* "The Bounty Hunters" (1953)
* "The Law at Randado" (1954)
* "Escape from Five Shadows" (1956)
* "Last Stand at Saber River" (1959) – also 1997 TV movie
* "Hombre" (1961) – also 1967 film
* "The Big Bounce" (1969) – also 1969 film and 2004 film
* "The Moonshine War" (1969) – also 1970 film
* "Valdez is Coming" (1970) – also 1971 film
* "Forty Lashes Less One" (1972)
* "Mr. Majestyk" (1974) – also 1974 film
* "Fifty-Two Pickup" (1974) – also 1986 film
* "Swag" (1976)
* "Unknown Man No. 89" (1977)
* "The Hunted" (1977)
* "The Switch" (1978)
* "Gunsights" (1979)
* "City Primeval" (1980)
* "Gold Coast" (1980) – also 1997 TV movie
* "Split Images" (1981) – also 1992 TV movie
* "Cat Chaser" (1982) – also 1989 film
* "Stick" (1983) – also 1985 film
* "LaBrava" (1983) – Edgar Award, Best Novel (1984)
* "Glitz" (1985) - also 1988 movie
* "Bandits" (1987)
* "Touch" (1987) – also 1997 film
* "Freaky Deaky" (1988)
* "Killshot" (1989) - also 2008 film
* "Get Shorty" (1990) – also 1995 film
* "Maximum Bob" (1991) – also 1998 TV series
* "Rum Punch" (1992) – also 1997 film "Jackie Brown"
* "Pronto" (1993) – also 1997 TV movie
* "Riding the Rap" (1995)
* "Out of Sight" (1996) – also 1998 film and 2003 TV series "Karen Sisco"
* "Naked Came the Manatee" (1996) (One chapter of the serial novel)
* "Cuba Libre" (1998)
* "Tonto Woman" (1998)
* "Be Cool" (1999) – also 2005 film
* "Pagan Babies" (2000)
* "Fire in the Hole" (2001)
* "When the Women Come Out to Dance" (2002)
* "Tishomingo Blues" (2002)
* "A Coyote's in the House" (2003)
* "Mr. Paradise" (2004)
* "The Hot Kid" (2005)
* "Up in Honey's Room" (2007)


* "Last Stand at Saber River" with Ronald M. Cohen (TV/1997)
* "Cat Chaser" (1989)
* "The Rosary Murders" with Fred Walton (1987)
* "Desperado" (TV/1987)
* "52 Pick-Up" with John Steppling (1986)
* "Stick" with Joseph Stinson (1985)
* "High Noon, Part II" (TV/1980)
* "Mr. Majestyk" (1974)
* "Joe Kidd" (1972)
* "The Moonshine War" (1970)


Short stories turned into films:
* "Three-Ten to Yuma" (1953) – and , both titled "3:10 to Yuma"
* "The Captives" (1955) – 1957 film "The Tall T"


*"10 Rules of Writing" (2007)


*Actor Robert Forster recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's 'Hip-Hop Literacy' campaign encouraging reading of books by Elmore Leonard.


External links

* [http://www.elmoreleonard.com Official website]
* [http://www.double-whammy.com/photos/elmorel.jpgPhoto of Leonard] - at Double-Whammy
* [http://www.vh1.com/movies/person/87810/bio.jhtml Elmore Leonard Biography] - from Allmovie - at VH1.com
* [http://www.thegate.ca/interviews/e-leonard.php Elmore Leonard Interview] - at TheGATE.ca
* [http://www.albany.edu/writers.inst/olv4n2.html#leonard Elmore Leonard Biography] - at the University of Albany
* [http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25339-2236222,00.html "Elmore Leonard's rules for Westerns"] , by Stephen Abell: a review in the "The Times" (UK), June 21, 2006.
* [http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/childrenandteens/story/0,6000,1271913,00.html Elmore Leonard interview] - at The Guardian (UK)
* [http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/investing/20040203b1.asp Elmore Leonard interview] - at BankRank.com
* [http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-leonard-elmore.asp Elmore Leonard interview] - at BookReporter.com
* [http://www.ginnydougary.co.uk/2004/06/26/daddy-cool/ Elmore Leonard interview] - by Ginny Dougary (2004)

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