October 11, 1925 |
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
|Genres||Pulp fiction, Westerns, crime fiction|
Elmore John Leonard Jr. (born October 11, 1925) is an American novelist and screenwriter. His earliest published novels in the 1950s were Westerns, but Leonard went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into motion pictures.
Among his best-known works are Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk and Rum Punch, which was filmed as Jackie Brown. Leonard's short stories include ones that became the films 3:10 to Yuma and The Tall T, as well as the current TV series on FX, Justified.
Leonard was born in New Orleans, but because his father worked as a site locator for General Motors, the family moved frequently for several years. In 1934, the family finally settled in Detroit. Leonard has made the Detroit 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 until they were killed in May, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were on a rampage. The Tigers made it to the World Series in 1934, winning the Series in 1935. Leonard developed lifelong fascinations with both sports and guns.
He 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 (gaining the nickname 'Dutch', after pitcher Dutch Leonard ). Enrolling at the University of Detroit in 1946, he pursued writing more seriously, entering his work in short story contests and sending it off to magazines. He graduated in 1950 with a degree in English and philosophy. 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, writing on the side.
Leonard had his first success in 1951 when Argosy published the short story "Trail of the Apaches". During the 1950s and early 1960s, he continued writing Westerns, publishing more than 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 that time: The Tall T and 3:10 to Yuma.
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 made a foray into mystery, crime, and more topical genres, as well as screenwriting.
Leonard now lives with his family in Oakland County, Michigan.
Writing style 
Commended by critics for his gritty realism and strong dialogue, Leonard sometimes takes liberties with grammar in the interest of speeding along the story. In his essay "Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing" he says: "My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." He also hints: "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."
Elmore Leonard has been called "the Dickens of Detroit" because of his intimate portraits of people from that city; however, Leonard has said, "If I lived in Buffalo, I'd write about Buffalo."  His ear for dialogue has 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 event in Beverly Hills in 1998. Stephen King has called him "the great American writer."
Leonard has often cited Ernest Hemingway as one of his most important influences but at the same time has criticized Hemingway for lack of humor.
Twenty-six of Leonard's novels and short stories have been adapted for the screen (nineteen as motion pictures and another seven as television programs).
Aside from the short stories already noted, a number of Leonard's novels have been adapted as films, including Out of Sight in 1998, Get Shorty in 1995, and Rum Punch (as the 1997 film Jackie Brown). 52 Pick-Up was first adapted very loosely into the 1984 film The Ambassador, starring Robert Mitchum and, two years later, under its original title starring Roy Scheider. He has also written several screenplays based on his novels, plus original ones such as Joe Kidd.
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 that bears little or no resemblance to Leonard's book.
Other novels filmed include:
- Mr. Majestyk (with Charles Bronson)
- Valdez Is Coming (with Burt Lancaster)
- 52 Pick-Up (with Roy Scheider)
- Stick (with Burt Reynolds)
- The Moonshine War (with Alan Alda)
- Last Stand at Saber River (with Tom Selleck)
- Gold Coast (with David Caruso)
- Glitz (with Jimmy Smits)
- Cat Chaser (with Peter Weller)
- Out of Sight (George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez)
- Touch (with Christopher Walken)
- Pronto (with Peter Falk)
- Be Cool (with John Travolta)
- Killshot (Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke).
- Get Shorty (with John Travolta)
Leonard was referenced in the television show Leverage in episode 105 "The Bank Shot Job" when Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison and Beth Riesgraf as Parker introduced themselves to police officers as FBI agents Leonard and Elmore.
Leonard was referenced in the television show Homicide: Life on the Street in the first episode "Gone for Goode" when Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch tells a lying suspect that his false story had an "Elmore Leonard quality."
|1970||The Moonshine War||Richard Quine|
|1972||Joe Kidd||John Sturges|
|1974||Mr. Majestyk||Richard Fleischer|
|1980||High Noon, Part II (TV)||Jerry Jameson|
|1985||Stick||Burt Reynolds||Joseph Stinson|
|1986||52 Pick-Up||John Frankenheimer||John Steppling|
|1987||The Rosary Murders||Fred Walton||William X. Kienzle & Fred Walton|
|Desperado (TV series)||Virgil W. Vogel|
|1989||Cat Chaser||Abel Ferrara||James Borelli|
|1953||Three-Ten to Yuma||1957 - 3:10 to Yuma
2007 - 3:10 to Yuma
|1955||The Captives||1957 - The Tall T|
|2004||The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard|
Also wrote a short story in the anthology Murderers' Row edited by Otto Penzler (2001) (back story for Tishomingo Blues)
All but three of Elmore Leonard’s novels have been performed as audiobooks (the exceptions being Escape From Five Shadows, Hombre, and La Brava). Many Leonard works (including The Big Bounce, Be Cool and The Tonto Woman) have been recorded more than once resulting in more than 70 English-language audiobook versions of Elmore Leonard novels. Many of these were abridgements, the last of which was Pagan Babies (2000) read by Steve Buscemi. Certain narrators have dominated the Elmore Leonard oeuvre, notably Frank Muller (11 audiobooks), Grover Gardner aka Alexander Adams (7), George Guidall (5), Mark Hammer (5), and Joe Mantegna (5). Other notable Leonard narrators include Liev Schreiber, Neil Patrick Harris, Tom Wopat, Arliss Howard, Joe Morton, Taye Diggs, Brian Dennehy, Bruce Boxleitner, Tom Skeritt, Robert Forster, Dylan Baker, Paul Rudd, Keith Carradine, Ed Asner, Henry Rollins, and Barbara Rosenblatt, the only female narrator of an Elmore Leonard work (the story, When the Women Come Out to Dance).
- 10 Rules of Writing (2007)
- Foreword to Walter Mirisch's book I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History
Awards and honors 
- 1992 Grand Master Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America 
- 2006 Louisiana Writer Award
- 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Award for outstanding achievement in American literature
- 2011 Peabody Award, FX's "Justified"
- 2012 National Book Award, Medal for Distinguished Contribution 
- Challen, Paul (2000). Get Dutch! A Biography of Elmore Leonard, p. 29. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-422-0.
- Leonard, Elmore, "Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle", in Smiley, Jane, et al. (2004), Writers on Writing, Vol. II, p. 145. Macmillan. ISBN 0-8050-7588-7.
- Challen (2000), p. 90.
- ."Martin Amis Interviews Elmore Leonard at the Writers Guild Theatre, Beverly Hills, January 23, 1998" <http://www.martinamisweb.com/interviews_files/amis_int_leonard.doc>.
- "The Tao of Steve" by Stephen King - Entertainment Weekly.com
- ""Homicide: Life on the Street" Gone for Goode (1993) - Memorable quotes". IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 3 April 2012. "Frankly, I preferred your Jamaican story better. It had a kind of Elmore Leonard quality."
- Stim, Richard, http://www.elmoreleonard.com/images/uploads/elmoreaudio.pdf AudioFile Magazine
- The Edgars Awards Database http://www.theedgars.com/edgarsDB/index.php
- Received during the 13th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference held at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, United States.
- Alison Flood (20 September 2012). "Elmore Leonard to be honoured by National Book Foundation". The Guardian. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Elmore Leonard|
- Official website
- Elmore Leonard at the Internet Movie Database
- Elmore Leonard at the Open Directory Project