Elmore Leonard Dead At 87; Influential Author Is Gone But Not Forgotten

Elmore Leonard, one of the most influential and prolific writers of his generation, has died this week. The prolific writer, whose work has inspired such hit films as Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown and more recently the FX series Justified, was admitted to a hospital in Detroit, Michigan earlier in August after he suffered a stroke. He died whilst still in hospital on Tuesday (20 August).

Elmore Leonard
Elmore Leonard; October 11, 1925 - August 20, 2013.

At 87-years-old, Elmore remained as prolific and involved in his work as he always had and had it not been for his stroke, which ultimately proved to be fatal, he would probably still be writing right now. Throughout his prolific career, Leonard saw more than 20 different works that he had penned get snapped up by Hollywood and used as the basis for films or occasionally for television. Although many of his stories were heavily tampered with on their way to the big screen, as is so often the case, it was the films and shows that treated his story with the most respect, like Justified, 3:10 to Yuma and Get Shorty; that made Leonard such a respected writer.

Justified cast
The cast of Justified issued a statement honouring Leonard following his death.

Upon the new of his death, the cast and crew of the hit FX series Justified, which is based on Leonard's short story Fire in the Hole, released a statement on behalf of the show telling of their shock and sadness at the news. Speaking with Zap2It, writer and producer Graham Yost discussed how influential using Leonard's work was in getting the pilot for the show off the ground. He said, "I'd be working away at the computer like any writer -- 'What's Raylan going to say next?' -- and I would just think, 'Well, what did Elmore have him say?' I would just copy down his dialogue," before going on to discuss how Leonard gave him the thumbs up for his effort, to which Yost replied, "He said, 'I really like this.' I said, 'Of course you do. It's mostly you.'"

Leonard was typically unsatisfied whenever his work was adapted for the screen, but he held a soft spot for justified and his last novel, Raylon - published last year, expanded the Justified story further. Dedicating the novel to the cast and crew, he was pleased with Justified and worked alongside producer Graham Yost often. The obituary statement from the show read, "we were blessed by the time we got to spend with him, and we will miss him. Our thoughts are with his family. Take it easy, Elmore. P.S.: We wrote longer versions of this statement, but as Elmore always said: Leave out the parts people tend to skip."

Elmore Leonard, Graham Yost, Timothy Olyphant
Elmore Leonard (L), Graham Yost (M) & Timothy Olyphant (R) are honoured at the 2011 Peabody Awards.


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