One of American literature’s most celebrated writers Elmore Leonard passed away of a stroke early on August 20, according to his Facebook page.
Leonard had the rare distinction of being loved in literary circles in addition to having his working embraced by Hollywood. He will be sorely missed. A workaholic, Leonard had been working on a new novel at the time of his passing according to The Daily News.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. He Never Recovered From the Stroke He Suffered on June 29
ELMORE LEONARD HAS DIED: Wrote ”Get Shorty” “3:10 to Yuma” “Be Cool” *Complications from stroke pic.twitter.com/rAc10EVvyq
— Jacaranda Newsteam (@Jacanews) August 20, 2013
Leonard was recovering from a stroke he suffered on June 29. He was living in his home in Oakland County, Michigan when he passed away. His son, Chris, had posted on his Facebook that his father was not making a recovery and that he was heading to Michigan to say goodbye to his father.
His home in the affluent Detroit neighborhood of Bloomfield Village meant that most of his neighbors were made up of the city’s professional athletes.
2. His Work Was Adapted by Directors Such as Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino
Leonard will be remembered for his works: Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk and Rum Punch, Rum Punch was made into a movie as Jackie Brown, made by Quentin Tarantino.
On his IMDB filmography, Leonard is listed as writer on 43 titles:
2013 The Arrangement (TV movie) (story “When the Women Come Out to Dance”) (post-production)
2013 Life of Crime (novel “The Switch”) (completed)
2010-2014 Justified (TV series)
2012 Freaky Deaky (novel)
2009/I Sparks (based on a story by)
2008 Killshot (novel)
2008 The Tonto Woman (short) (story)
2008 The 2007 Academy Award Nominated Short Films: Live Action
2007 3:10 to Yuma (short story)
2005 Be Cool (novel)
2003-2004 Karen Sisco (TV series)
2004 The Big Bounce (novel)
1998 Maximum Bob (TV series pilot) (novel)
1998 Out of Sight (novel)
1997 Jackie Brown (novel “Rum Punch”)
1997 Gold Coast (TV movie) (novel)
1997 Pronto (TV movie) (book)
1997 Touch (novel)
1997 Last Stand at Saber River (TV movie) (novel)
1995 Get Shorty (novel)
1992 Split Images (TV movie) (novel)
1990 Border Shootout (novel “The Law at Randado”)
1989 Desperado: Badlands Justice (TV movie) (creator)
1989 Cat Chaser (novel / screenplay)
1989 Desperado: The Outlaw Wars (TV movie) (creator)
1988 Glitz (TV movie) (novel)
1988 Desperado: Avalanche at Devil’s Ridge (TV movie) (creator)
1988 The Return of Desperado (TV movie) (creator)
1987 The Rosary Murders
1987 Desperado (TV movie) (written by)
1986 52 Pick-Up (novel / screenplay)
1985 Stick (novel / screenplay)
1984 The Ambassador (novel “52 Pick-Up”)
1980 High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane (TV movie) (written by)
1974 Mr. Majestyk (written by)
1972 Joe Kidd (written by)
1971 Valdez Is Coming (novel)
1970 The Moonshine War (novel / screenplay)
1969 The Big Bounce (novel)
1967 Hombre (novel)
1957 3:10 to Yuma (story)
1957 The Tall T (story)
1956 Schlitz Playhouse (TV series) (story)
3. He Began Writing Westerns in the 1950s
Much of his early work in the 1950s were westerns, two, The Tall T and 3:10 to Yuma, were made into movies. He began to branch into writing crime and thriller novels in the 1970s.
He began working as a copy-writer at Campbell-Ewald Advertising Agency in 1951 while writing on the side.
4. Stephen King Called Him “The Great American Writer”
Leonard’s work was hugely celebrated amongst other writers. Stephen King called him “the great American writer.” Time Magazine called him “The Dickens of Detroit.” Martin Amis once told Leonard, “Your prose makes Raymond Chandler look clumsy.”
5. Leonard Was Most Influenced by Hemingway
He cited his most important influence as Ernest Hemingway. But still criticized his idol of his “lack of humor.” Leonard has also told of the influence the escapades of Bonnie and Clyde had on him during his formative years growing up in Detroit.
6. His Work Has Also Been Adapted for T.V.
In the 1990s Leonard branched into TV with his novel Maximum Bob becoming a short-lived series starring Jeff Bridges’ brother Beau. As well as the TV show Karen Sisco starring Carla Cuigno which was based on the Jennifer Lopez character from the movie Out of Sight, which he wrote. Finally in 2010, the FX series Justified was based around another Leonard character U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens.
7. He Was a World War II Veteran
At age 17 he attempted to join the Marines in 1943 but was rejected because of his vision. He was eventually drafted into the Seabees, a construction battalion in the U.S. Navy. He served in the Philippines.
8. He Was Married Three Times
RIP Elmore Leaonard. #Irreplaceable
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) August 20, 2013
He was married in 1949 to a woman named Beverly Cline; they divorced in 1977 and Leonard remarried to Joan Leanne Lancaster in 1979. That marriage lasted until 1993. Leonard married Christine Kent in 1993, and that marriage lasted until 2011.
9. His Latest Movie Adaptation Will Be Released in September 2013
The adaptation of Leonard’s 1978 novel The Switch — titled Life of Crime — is set to premiere September 14 at the Toronto International Film Festival. It stars Mos Def, Jennifer Aniston and Tim Robbins. A synopsis of the movie reads:
The story takes place in 1970′s Detroit when two common criminals, played by John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, The Sessions) and Mos Def/Yasiin Bey (The Italian Job) kidnap the wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a corrupt real estate mogul Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River).
Their get rich quick scam for collecting a large ransom is thwarted when they are informed that Tim Robbins’ character is in love with his young mistress, played by Isla Fisher (The Great Gatsby, Wedding Crashers), and doesn’t care if he gets his wife back. In fact, it would make things better for him if he didn’t get her back.
10. His Writing Tips Provide Invaluable Advice to Writers
In 2001, The New York Times published his ten rules of a writing. One of his tips was: “I try to leave out the part that people tend to skip.”
The tips were:
1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . .
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.