Elmore Leonard, the revered crime author who died Tuesday at age 87, was well known in Hollywood circles, either for his books that got adapted into films or for his own screenplays. But Leonard's most recent success had been on the small screen with the FX series
The drama, adapted from Leonard's short story "Fire in the Hole," has aired for four seasons, with a fifth expected to air in January. It is, by far, the most popular and well received adaptation of Leonard's work for the small screen. Leonard himself served as one of the show's executive producers.
But though he'd had a long big-screen career, the very first adaptation of Leonard's work also appeared on the small screen. In 1956, "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars," a dramatic anthology series, aired an adaptation of Leonard's western short story "Moment of Vengeance," which was first published in the Saturday Evening Post.
When Leonard returned to TV, it was with an original teleplay for the TV movie "Desperado."
Leonard's novel "Glitz" became the basis of a TV movie adaptation in 1988. Jimmy Smits, a rising star from his role on
Another of Leonard's novels, "Split Images," was adapted as a TV movie in 1992. The story involved a wealthy and bored killer and his cop partner-in-crime, along with police officer and his reporter girlfriend who try to stop them. The TV movie recieved mediocre reviews, despite a teleplay by novelist and newspaperman Pete Hamill.
One of Leonard's earliest western novels, "Last Stand at Saber River," became a TV movie in 1997, with Tom Selleck starring as a Confederate Civil War veteran who teams with a former Union soldier to take on rebel pioneers who threaten his family. The film, which aired on
"Pronto," based on Leonard's 1993 novel, became a TV movie in 1997 with Peter Falk,
Based on the success of director Barry Sonnenfeld's 1995 big-screen adaptation of Leonard's "Get Shorty,"
Another attempt by ABC to bring Leonard's work to series, "Karen Sisco," fared only slightly better in 2003. It lasted 10 episodes before getting canceled.
"Justified" has been Leonard's biggest TV success, earning multiple Emmy nominations and even winning one for supporting actress
While it's too soon to know if Leonard's death with have an effect on the series, it's a sure bet that the fifth season premiere will be dedicated to the man who created their world.