Elmore Leonard Additional Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Born in New Orleans on October 11, 1925, Elmore John Leonard, Jr., is the son of a General Motors location scout. His father frequently moved the family, mostly in the southeastern United States, before settling permanently in Detroit, Michigan, where Elmore (nicknamed “Dutch” by his childhood friends) attended a Roman Catholic grammar school and graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1944. Leonard was profoundly affected by his reading of Erich Marie Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues (1929, 1968; All Quiet on the Western Front, 1929, 1969), and by his high school years, he was writing short stories that he purposefully modeled after those of his favorite writers, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and John O’Hara.

After high school, Leonard joined the United States Navy and served in a Seabee unit in the South Pacific. After he earned a degree in English from the University of Detroit in 1948, he took a job as an advertising copywriter for the Campbell Ewald Agency in Detroit and wrote copy for the Chevrolet account, among others, between 1948 and 1961. Leonard wrote Western stories and novels throughout the 1950’s, publishing his first short story, “Trail of the Apache,” in Argosy magazine in 1951, and his first novel, The Bounty Hunters, in 1953. Leonard has published more than thirty short stories in such periodicals as Zane Grey’s Western Magazine and The Saturday...

(The entire section is 460 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Elmore “Dutch” Leonard’s success did not come easily. It was the result of years of apprenticeship to his craft, painstaking research, self-discipline, high standards, and strong motivation to be independent. His life can be viewed as a study in overcoming obstacles confronting aspiring writers in a precarious, constantly evolving profession.

Leonard was born in New Orleans in 1925, but his family moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1934. That tough, multiracial metropolis is the setting of many of his crime novels. He attended a Catholic elementary school and the Jesuit-run University of Detroit High School. He was never an outstanding student but loved reading.

In 1943 he was drafted into the U.S. Navy...

(The entire section is 796 words.)