'Get Shorty,' 'Rum Punch' author Leonard, 87, dies - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Prolific crime novelist Elmore Leonard dies from stroke complications

Elmore Leonard, writer of 45 books including "Get Shorty," died at the age of 87. (Source: Facebook) Elmore Leonard, writer of 45 books including "Get Shorty," died at the age of 87. (Source: Facebook)
Elmore Leonard, 1925-2013. (Source: Facebook) Elmore Leonard, 1925-2013. (Source: Facebook)

(RNN) - Elmore Leonard, a distinguished crime fiction writer whose stories included Get Shorty, Out of Sight and the tale that inspired the TV show Justified, died Tuesday at the age of 87.

Leonard's researcher and webmaster, Gregg Sutter, posted the information on the author's Facebook page.

"The post I dreaded to write, and you dreaded to read," Sutter wrote. "Elmore passed away at 7:15 this morning from complications from his stroke. He was at home surrounded by his loving family. More to follow."

He had been attempting to recover from a stroke suffered July 29 at a hospital in his hometown of Detroit, according to the Detroit News. Sutter told the newspaper a week later that Leonard had been in the middle of writing his 46th novel.

Known for his direct, witty dialogue, the American writer was a hit among book critics and fans of multiple genres.

Three of Leonard's works have been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of American: The Switch, nominated for Best Original Paperback Novel of 1978; Split Images, for Best Novel of 1981; and LaBrava, which won for Best Novel in 1983.

Maximum Bob was also awarded the first annual International Association of Crime Writers North American Hammett Prize in 1991. In 1992, the Mystery Writers of America gave Leonard the Grand Master Award and in 2009, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA.

Several of his stories have been turned into films, including 3:10 to Yuma, Hombre and Rum Punch, which was turned into the movie Jackie Brown.

Leonard also served as executive producer of the F/X series Justified, based on his short story Fire in the Hole. The success of the show inspired the author to revisit the main character, Raylan Givens, in the 2012 book Raylan.

Life of Crime, a movie adaptation of the novel The Switch, will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Leonard joined the Navy in 1943 and served with a Seabee unit in the South Pacific. In 1946, he enrolled at the University of Detroit.

During college, he worked for an advertising agency while turning to his love of writing. Trail of the Apache was his first short story published in 1951 in the magazine Argosy. According to his Facebook page, the author continued writing western short stories, which he had published in Zane Grey Western and The Saturday Evening Post.

After publishing his first novel, titled The Bounty Hunters, in 1953, Leonard published 30 short stories and four additional novels in the following eight years. After the Western Writers of America recognized his 1961 Hombre as the best western of all time, Leonard quit his advertising job.

However, recognizing that readers were leaving the western genre, Leonard wrote educational films for Encyclopaedia Britannica, as well as took on freelance advertising jobs to make ends meet. The author turned his writing to crime novels, gaining a large devoted fan base as a result.

Leonard lived in Bloomfield Village, MI. He had five children, 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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