Author of Get Shorty, Elmore Leonard, dies aged 87

More than 25 of his works were made into movies or television shows

US crime novelist Elmore Leonard known for his works Get Shorty and Out of Sight has died aged 87 at home.  Photograph: Vince Bucci/Getty Images

US crime novelist Elmore Leonard known for his works Get Shorty and Out of Sight has died aged 87 at home. Photograph: Vince Bucci/Getty Images

 

American author Elmore Leonard, whose ear for gritty, realistic dialogue helped bring dozens of hard-bitten crooks, cops and cowboys to life in nearly 50 novels, died today aged 87.

“Elmore passed away this morning at 7.15am at home surrounded by his loving family,” according to an announcement on elmoreleonard.com.

Leonard, who first wrote westerns when he gave up his advertising agency job in the 1950s before moving on to crime and suspense books, suffered a stroke on July 29th.

Known by the nickname Dutch, Leonard had his commercial breakthrough in 1985 with the publication of Glitz.

His following books, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Killshot, Bandits and Freaky Deaky, came out every year-and-a-half or so and were best-sellers.

Hollywood had an affinity for Leonard’s books, and more than 25 of his works were made into movies or television shows, beginning with Paul Newman in the 1967 film Hombre. The western story 3:10 to Yuma and the novel The Big Bounce were each adapted for film twice.

The cable television series Justified, the tale of a US marshal in Kentucky that first aired in 2010, was based on Leonard’s work and he served as executive producer of the show.

Movie producers and stars were so anxious to secure rights to his books that they were known to show up on Leonard’s doorstep on the publication date.

Leonard’s 47th book, Blue Dreams, was expected to be published this year.

“I don’t have any reason to quit,” Leonard said in 2012. “I still enjoy writing.”

Leonard won the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in November 2012, putting him in the company of such US literary luminaries as Toni Morrison, John Updike, Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer.

He was married three times and had five children with his first wife.

Leonard also served as an executive producer on FX’s Emmy-winning TV crime drama Justified, which is based on his novels Pronto, Riding the Rap and a short story Fire in the Hole.

Reuters

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