News: Iconic Author Elmore Leonard Has Passed Away at 87

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CHICAGO – Elmore Leonard was so much a part of the entertainment landscape that many people don’t even realize the extent of his influence and reach on, of course, literature, but also film and television. The same man created the characters you love in “3:10 to Yuma,” “Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight,” and “Justified.” He passed away from a stroke this morning, as revealed on his Facebook page. He was 87 and, according to the post, surrounded by those he loved.

Born in New Orleans, Leonard would forever be identified with Detroit, the city that became his home in 1934. His first story was published in 1951 and he began his career with a focus on Westerns. He published dozens of short stories in the ’50s, two of which were turned into hit films of the day, “The Tall T” and “3:10 to Yuma”. Over the years, 26 novels or short stories were turned into films or television programs, including “Mr. Majestyk,” “52 Pick-Up,” “Touch,” “Get Shorty,” “Jackie Brown,” “Out of Sight,” and TV versions of “Maximum Bob,” “Karen Sisco,” and, most successfully, “Justified.” The character of Raylan Givens on the hit FX drama comes from Leonard books (“Pronto” and “Riding the Rap”) and a short story called “Fire in the Hole”.

Still productive in his 80s, Leonard released a new Raylan Givens book last year and was still producing literary hits late in life, like “Tishomingo Blues” (2002) and “Djibouti” (2010).

He won the Edgar Award, Peabody Award, and a special National Book Award, among others.

Elmore Leonard disproved the idea that creative voices had to peak and then slide to obscurity. He stayed productive and vital for over half-a-century, producing great, influential works, the power of which will continue long after his passing. We send our condolences to his friends and family.

Elmore Leonard
Elmore Leonard
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