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"Get Shorty" Writer Elmore Leonard Dead at 87

Vince Bucci/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Novelist Elmore Leonard, whose best-selling books and short stories were turned into hit movies and TV shows, has died.  He was 87 years old.

Leonard, who'd suffered a stroke three weeks ago, passed away Tuesday morning, according to his website.  The post declares that he died at home, surrounded by family.

Leonard started out writing Westerns, but then turned his talents to crime fiction and suspense thrillers.  Over 25 of his novels and short stories have been adapted for movies and TV, including Get Shorty and its sequel, Be Cool, both starring John Travolta.  His novel Rum Punch became the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown, starring Robert Forster, Samuel L. Jackson and Pam Grier.

Among the other TV shows and movies based upon or inspired by Leonard's work are the FX series Justified, the ABC series Karen Sisco, and the movies Stick, 3:10 to Yuma, Out of Sight, Mr. Majestyk, Hombre and Killshot.

Leonard’s ear for dialogue has been praised by other famous writers, including Stephen King.  In an essay titled "Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing," Leonard noted: "My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."  He also famously cracked, "Try to leave out the parts that readers skip."

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