by Clint Stone
The literary world lost a major figure when Elmore Leonard passed away Tuesday after suffering a stroke three weeks prior. Although he has authored over 45 novels, many readers may not be familiar with the legacy Leonard left us in his time here on earth.
Are you familiar with the FX Emmy award winning drama Justified? Perhaps you have seen the Oscar nominated movie 3:10 to Yuma? Do you remember the John Travolta film Get Shorty? If you are a Quentin Tarantino fan; then you’ve probably seen Jackie Brown. Yep, all of these are Elmore Leonard adaptations. As is common with most authors, Leonard was critical of his filmic adaptations. The exceptions being Get Shorty and Justified.
Elmore Leonard was nicknamed ‘Dutch’ but he could easily have been called ‘Buffalo,’ as he was part of a vanishing breed. Stephen King called him “The great American writer”; Leonard kept the past alive and relevant through fresh interpretations to current mediums.
Amazingly prolific, perhaps due to the popularity of his work with Hollywood, Elmore Leonard was hard at work on his 46th novel right up to the end. Although much of his work has been adapted to film, only within the last decade has the writer truly seen his star shine brightest.
Leonard had a penchant for characters that could readily fall on either side of the sometimes thin-line of legality. This device allowed the author an ample palette to paint a rich tale of twists and unexpected turns. As Leonard liked to say, “try to leave out the part (of a story) that readers tend to skip.” A neat trick and one that served him well during his long, fruitful career.
Check out more of Elmore Leonard’s many works to acknowledge the substantial legacy he left.