Prolific crime novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard – who was best known for Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk and Rum Punch – has died at the age of 87.
The New Orleans native began his writing career shortly after receiving a degree in English and philosophy. While working as a copy writer for the Campbell-Ewald Advertising Agency, Leonard freelanced on the side by writing short Western stories, which were showcased in magazines.
In 1953, Leonard wrote his first novel, The Bounty Hunters. After a few more novels, Hollywood started to take notice and adapted Leonard’s The Tall T and 3:10 to Yuma into movies.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s that Leonard hung up the saddles and started to focus stories that centered around contemporary crime thrillers, filled with gritty realism and vigorous dialogue. Leonard has openly stated that movie adaptations of all his books “sucked,” except for 1995’s Get Shorty, which “got it right for once.” The most recent of his novel adaptations is the forthcoming Life of Crime, based off The Switch; a sort of sequel to Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, which was based off Rum Punch.
Throughout his life, Leonard was honored with a variety of prestigious awards for his literary work. Just last year, the National Book Foundation presented him with a Medal for Distinguished Contribution. Our condolences go out to Elmore Leonard’s family and friends.