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Aug 202013
 

By Harvey Blume.

The late and great Elmore Leonard

The late and great Elmore Leonard

Writer Elmore Leonard, passed away on Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 87 years old. Age no doubt chipped away at him physically but not so far as I could tell at his style and his prose.

From Elmore Leonard’s novel Get Shorty, which had the strange good fortune of being turned into a really good film, too:

Then Michael had to look at the menu for a while, Harry willing to bet anything he wouldn’t order from it. It was an unwritten rule in Hollywood, actors never ordered straight from the menu; they’d think of something they had to have that wasn’t on it, or they’d tell exactly how they wanted the entrée prepared, the way their mother back in Queens used to fix it. The seven-million-dollar actor in the jacket a bum wouldn’t wear told the waiter he felt like an omelet, hesitant about it, almost apologetic. Could he have a cheese omelet with shallots, but with the shallots only slightly browned? The headwaiter said, yes, of course. Then could he have some light tomato sauce over it with just a hint of garlic but, please, no oregano? Of course. And fresh peas in the tomato sauce? Harry wanted to tell him, Michael, you can have any fucking thing you want. You want boiled goat? They’ll send out for it if they don’t have one. Jesus, what you had to go through with actors. The ideal situation would be if you could make movies without them.

Get Shorty is a personal favorite, to my mind, the funniest of his books. Sure, the venue was Hollywood, but should you think, how could he miss? Let me say he was just as unerring when it came to, say, Detroit.

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