Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Ryan Gosling To Star In 'Blade Runner 2' Ryan Gosling To Star In 'Blade Runner 2' Watch: New Trailer For 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Flies Into The Galaxy Watch: New Trailer For 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Flies Into The Galaxy Watch: First Teaser Trailer For Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' 'Macbeth,' Todd Haynes' 'Carol,' Pixar's 'Inside Out' Lead 2015 Cannes Film Festival Line-Up 'Macbeth,' Todd Haynes' 'Carol,' Pixar's 'Inside Out' Lead 2015 Cannes Film Festival Line-Up Watch: Zack Snyder Teases The Full Trailer For ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' & Upcoming IMAX Event Watch: Zack Snyder Teases The Full Trailer For ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' & Upcoming IMAX Event Ryan Gosling & Edgar Wright Talk 'Lost River,' Shooting In Detroit, And Advice For First Time Filmmakers Ryan Gosling & Edgar Wright Talk 'Lost River,' Shooting In Detroit, And Advice For First Time Filmmakers Netflix & Marvel's 'Daredevil': The Pros, The Cons, The Verdict Netflix & Marvel's 'Daredevil': The Pros, The Cons, The Verdict Netflix's 'Daredevil' Is An Awesome Achievement And Marvel's Most Graphic & Grounded Effort To Date Netflix's 'Daredevil' Is An Awesome Achievement And Marvel's Most Graphic & Grounded Effort To Date Watch: Action-Packed Footage In 2 New “Avengers: Age of Ultron’ TV Spots, Plus Watch Interviews With The Entire Cast Watch: Action-Packed Footage In 2 New “Avengers: Age of Ultron’ TV Spots, Plus Watch Interviews With The Entire Cast Watch: Trailer For 'The Great Beauty' Director Paolo Sorrentino's 'Youth' Starring Michael Caine & Rachel Weisz Watch: Trailer For 'The Great Beauty' Director Paolo Sorrentino's 'Youth' Starring Michael Caine & Rachel Weisz Joss Whedon Says He's Not Making 'Avengers: Infinity War' Because It's "A Young Man’s Game" Joss Whedon Says He's Not Making 'Avengers: Infinity War' Because It's "A Young Man’s Game" Watch: Take 7 Minutes And Learn The History Of Film Editing Watch: Take 7 Minutes And Learn The History Of Film Editing 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Called "Amazing" And "More Emotional" With "Insane Action" After First Screening 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Called "Amazing" And "More Emotional" With "Insane Action" After First Screening Joss Whedon Calls 'Jurassic World' Clip "70s Era Sexist" Joss Whedon Calls 'Jurassic World' Clip "70s Era Sexist" The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

R.I.P. Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 20, 2013 at 9:54AM

Is there anything new that can be said about Elmore Leonard? For over six decades, the prolific and immensely talented writer knocked out novels, short stories and much more at blistering rate, and in the process became one of the greatest writers of American fiction—crime fiction in particular. And today, we've lost that great talent as his official researcher and webmaster has revealed he's passed away at the age of 87.
1
Elmore Leonard feature

Is there anything new that can be said about Elmore Leonard? For over six decades, the prolific and immensely talented writer knocked out novels, short stories and much more at blistering rate, and in the process became one of the greatest writers of American fiction—crime fiction in particular. And today, we've lost that great talent as his official researcher and webmaster has revealed he's passed away at the age of 87.

To call Leonard influential and highly respected would be an understatement. Of course, the literary world wasn't short of praise for the writer—Stephen King called him the "the great American writer" and last year the author took home the National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contribution. But with over 20 features films made based on Leonard's writing ("Get Shorty," "3:10 To Yuma," "Out Of Sight"—be sure to check out our overview of his film adaptations), along with countless TV ventures too (most recently, "Justified"), his reach went well beyond the book store and library. Take for example Quentin Tarantino, who adapted "Jackie Brown" and made it clear the influence Leonard had on his own career.

"Well, when I was a kid and I first started reading his novels I got really caught up in his characters and the way they talked. As I started reading more and more of his novels it kind of gave me permission to go my way with characters talking around things as opposed to talking about them. He showed me that characters can go off on tangents and those tangents are just as valid as anything else. Like the way real people talk," the director told Creative Screen Writing. "I think his biggest influence on any of my things was 'True Romance.' Actually, in 'True Romance' I was trying to do my version of an Elmore Leonard novel in script form. I didn't rip it off, there's nothing blatant about it, it's just a feeling you know, and a style I was inspired by more than anything you could point your finger at." 

And indeed, it's that feeling that distinguished Leonard not just as a writer of page-turning paperbacks, but an author with a singular voice and real literary heft. From westerns to knotty crime tales, his stories were infused with colorful characters, black humor and deadly violence, all of which moved like freight train. "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it," Leonard said in his infamous 10 Rules of Writing. Well, he'll be happy to know his work never sounded like writing, it sounded like Elmore Leonard. And we'll miss it. 

This article is related to: Elmore Leonard


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates