Elmore Leonard: Author Extraordinary!


Elmore “Dutch” Leonard has written 45 books, beginning with Westerns and moving on to crime and mystery novels.

I have them all – most of them at least twice.

When I’m stuck at the keyboard, I often just grab one of his books and start typing a page or so.  His style quickly gets me into a rhythm so I can delete his words and get started on my own.

A few of the movies made from his books include “Hombre” (Paul Newman, Frederick March, Richard Boone), “Out of Sight” (Jennifer Lopez, George Clooney), and “Get Shorty” (John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito).  Russell Crowe and Christian Bale starred in the remake of Lenard’s “3:10 to Yuma,” a remake of the original 1957 movie starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin.  Tom Selleck played the lead role in a TV movie of “Last Stand at Saber River.”  “Life of Crime,” from his novel “The Switch,” is due out in September.

I had the pleasure of meeting Elmore Leonard twice at book signings.  The last one was at Olson’s in Washington, DC, and I caught a break.  I went early and got to visit with him for a few minutes before the crowds showed up.  He patiently signed a few of my books and included my sons David and Ted with his best wishes.

If you like to escape reality in a work of outstanding fiction, read Elmore Leonard and rent his movies.

Known among authors as “The King of Dialog,” the 87 year-old Leonard recently suffered a stroke.  I’m going to try to find out how to send him a card wishing him well and thanking him for the inspiration and his gift of a few thousand hours of enjoyment I have spent reading his books and watching the movies made from them.

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