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Elmore Leonard Is Dead At 87

posted 20 Aug 2013, 13:20 by Mpelembe   [ updated 20 Aug 2013, 13:20 ]

U.S. crime writer Elmore Leonard died on Tuesday (August 20) at the age of 87.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIAUNITED STATES  (REUTERS) - 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 on Tuesday (August 20) several weeks after a stroke. He was 87.

"Elmore passed away this morning at 7:15 a.m. at home surrounded by his loving family," according to an announcement on his website, It did not provide other details.

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 29.

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

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 U.S. marshal in Kentucky that first aired in 2010, was based on Leonard's work and he served as executive producer of the show.

Born in New Orleans, Leonard moved at age 8 with his family to Detroit, where he became enthralled by the real-life exploits of gangsters Bonnie and Clyde and the fortunes of the city's professional baseball team, the Detroit Tigers.

He won the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in November 2012, putting him in the company of such U.S. literary luminaries as Toni MorrisonJohn UpdikeGore Vidal and Norman Mailer.

Leonard was married three times and had five children with his first wife. His sonPeter also went into advertising before becoming a writer.