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Elmore Leonard Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (9) | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 11 October 1925New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Date of Death 20 August 2013Bloomfield Township, Michigan, USA  (complications from a stroke)
Birth NameElmore John Leonard Jr.
Nicknames Dutch
The Dickens of Detroit

Mini Bio (1)

Elmore Leonard was born on October 11, 1925 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA as Elmore John Leonard Jr. He was a writer and producer, known for Jackie Brown (1997), 3:10 to Yuma (2007) and Justified (2010). He was married to Christine Kent, Joan Shepard and Beverly Claire Cline. He died on August 20, 2013 in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, USA.

Spouse (3)

Christine Kent (19 August 1993 - 20 August 2013) (his death)
Joan Shepard (15 September 1979 - 13 January 1993) (her death)
Beverly Claire Cline (30 July 1949 - 24 May 1977) (divorced) (5 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Major characters in his novels tend to have a checkered past. Their criminal tendencies gives Leonard the option of having his central figures tap into negative or positive traits for surprising end twist.
Spends the first half of a novel setting up various unrelated characters, then in the second half has them all interact, providing completely unpredictable consequences

Trivia (16)

Currently resides in suburban Oakland County, Michigan. Many of his novels are set in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs.
Secretly wrote his earliest novels while working at an advertising agency. He kept paper in a desk drawer and wrote with his arm stuck in the drawer. When somebody came by his desk, he closed the drawer. He took his writings home every night and rewrote them.
Refuses to use a word processor. He writes all his first drafts in longhand, then rewrites on a typewriter.
Appeared in American Express print ads in the late 1980s. The photo, by Annie Leibovitz, appears on the back of the hardcover version of "Freaky Deaky".
In nearly every film made from his books, there is a scene where at least one person gets locked in the trunk of a car.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 133, pp. 307-315. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
Universal bought the rights to his novel "LaBrava" before it was published, but never produced it as a movie.
His first story was published in Argosy magazine in 1951, and in the following 60 years, Leonrd wrote a book every year, with his 45th, "Raylan," being published in 2012.
His father, an executive with General Motors, moved the family to Detroit when he was nine years old. After graduating from high school in 1943, he spent two years in the Navy, graduated from the University of Detroit in 1950 and then became a copywriter for a local advertising agency.
Served with the Seabees in the U.S. Navy, 1943-45.
Attended the University of Detroit, studying English and philosophy.
Worked as an advertising writer in the 1950's, initially only sidelining as an author of western fiction.
Said to have been influenced by the writings of Ernest Hemingway.
His many awards include the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers, the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the Diamond Dagger Award from the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain and, an honorary U.S. National Book Award for lifetime achievement (2012).
The author's "10 Rules of Writing" have attained near gospel status for both established and aspiring writers alike:
  • 1. Never open a book with weather. - 2. Avoid prologues. - 3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. - 4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said". . .he admonished gravely. - 5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. - 6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose." - 7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. - 8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. - 9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things. - 10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.



The writer's favorite film adaptation of his books is Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown (1997) (from "Rum Punch").

Personal Quotes (9)

I try to leave out the parts readers skip.
[his first rule of writing dialog] If it sounds written, it's wrong.
[about the adaptation of his book "Get Shorty"] All the adaptations of my books all sucked. This one [Get Shorty (1995)] got it right for once.
If work was a good thing, the rich would have it all and not let you do it.
I think any writer is a fool if he doesn't do it for money. There needs to be some kind of incentive in addition to the project. It all goes together. It's fun to sit there and think of characters and get them into action, then be paid for it. I can't believe it when writers tell me, "I don't want to show my work to anybody". Well, what are you doing it for?
[on film versions of his work] I don't remember all the bad ones. I know "The Big Bounce" was bad, though, and they made it twice. It wasn't bad enough the first time [The Big Bounce (1969)]. I don't think anybody in the picture knew what they were doing. The second time they made it [The Big Bounce (2004)], they shot it in Hawaii. They would cut to surfers when they ran out of ideas.
[on the process of writing] There isn't any secret. You sit down and you start and that's it.
[re villains' brevity of speech] You never tell the guy what could happen to him. Let him use his imagination, he'll think of something worse. In other words, don't talk when you don't have to.
The bad guys are the fun guys. The only people I have trouble with are the so-called normal types. Their language isn't very colorful, and they don't talk with any certain sound.

Salary (2)

The Tall T (1957) $5,000
Hombre (1967) $10,000

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