Acclaimed American writer Elmore Leonard is dead at 87. The influential author reportedly died Tuesday morning, a result of complications from a stroke he had on July 29.
Leonard leaves behind a massive body of work, including novels such as 'Rum Punch' (the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film 'Jackie Brown'), 'Get Shorty' (which was adapted into the John Travolta film of the same name) and 'Out of Sight' (adapted into a George Clooney/Jennifer Lopez film). He also wrote the short story that inspired the classic western film '3:10 to Yuma' and its 2007 remake.
Time will tell, but Leonard's most lasting contribution, however, might come in the form of a cowboy hat-wearing U.S. Marshal named Raylan Givens. The character, which first appeared as a minor player in his 1993 novel 'Pronto' (and again in his 1995 novel 'Riding the Rap') was the star, along with Redneck pyromaniac Boyd Crowder, of a 2001 short story titled 'Fire in the Hole,' which in 2010 was adapted by screenwriter Graham Yost into the FX television series 'Justified.'
Though it has always been overshadowed by flashier shows, 'Justified' has remained one of the most consistently great television shows on air. Part of that is due to the amazing performances -- Timothy Olyphant (with whom Leonard is pictured, above) and Walton Goggins are perenially underappreciated -- but a great deal of the show's brilliance is owed the fast-paced, whip-smart dialogue inspired by Leonard's own writing.
His mark is all over the show, from the characters' idiosyncratic manner of speaking to the creation of certain storylines (his final novel, 'Raylan,' was published last year and served as an inspiration for several season 3 plot threads).
'Justified' will likely continue on without Leonard for several more years (Yost anticipates a further two seasons), and with it, Leonard's legacy and influence will live on.