Leonard, Elmore

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Leonard, Elmore

Elmore Leonard (John Elmore Leonard), 1925–2013, American novelist, b. New Orleans, grad. Univ. of Detroit (1950). "Dutch" Leonard began publishing Western tales in the early 1950s, the best known of which is the short novel Hombre (1961; film, 1967). His first crime novel, The Big Bounce, was published in 1969 (films, 1969 and 2004); thereafter, he contributed numerous novels and short stories to the genre, writing about a book a year. Leonard developed a gritty realism in style and setting (often Detroit), a hard-boiled and tough-talking cast of outsider characters, a deadpan humor, and a crisp, clean prose that made him one of America's top crime writers. Many of his novels became films, sometimes with his own screenplays. Among the most popular of his many books are Fifty-two Pickup (1974; film, 1984 and 1986), Stick (1983; film, 1985), LaBrava (1983), Glitz (1985), Freaky Deaky (1988; film, 2012), Get Shorty (1990; film, 1995), Maximum Bob (1990; television series, 1998), Rum Punch (1992), Out of Sight (1996; film, 1998), Cuba Libre (1998), Be Cool (1999; film, 2005), Tishomingo Blues (2002), Mr. Paradise (2004), The Hot Kid (2005), Road Dogs (2009), Djibouti (2010), and Raylan (2012), his 45th and last novel.

See biographies by D. Geherin (1989), J. E. Devlin (1999), and P. C. Challen (2000); C. J. Rzepka, Being Cool: The Work of Elmore Leonard (2013); M. Dibb and R. Horsley, Elmore Leonard's Criminal Records (documentary, 1991).

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