You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Leon Uris

Writer, journalist, adventurer

Scribe-journo-adventurer Leon Uris, best known for his massive tomes “Exodus” (1958) and “Trinity” (1976) and the screenplay for 1957’s “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” died from congestive heart failure at his home on New York’s Shelter Island Saturday. He was 78.

“Exodus,” about the creation of Israel, became a global bestseller and later an acclaimed film starring Paul Newman and directed by Otto Preminger (Ernest Gold won the music score Oscar for the 1960 pic). The classic “O.K. Corral,” starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster, was directed by John Sturges. His thriller novel “Topaz” (1969) became an Alfred Hitchcock film. “Trinity” focused on the conflicts in Ireland.

His book “QB VII,” about Nazi atrocities and an infamous court case (and based in part on a legal battle he had over “Exodus”), became an acclaimed TV miniseries starring Ben Gazarra and Anthony Hopkins.

In October, HarperCollins is set to publish Uris’ last book, “O’Hara’s Choice,” a historical novel about the U.S. Marine Corps. His ex-wife, photographer Jill Uris, said he completed the work this spring.

His other books include spy novel “The Angry Hills” (1959), later a film starring John Mitchum and directed by Robert Aldrich; “Exodus Revisited” (1960); “Mitla Pass” (1988), a personal account about the Middle East conflict; “Mila 18,” about the Jewish uprising in Warsaw during World War II and a springboard for family history; and his first book, “Battle Cry” (1953), the screenplay for which he also worked on, based on his experiences as a WWII Marine and as a war correspondent.

His novels have sold more than 150 million copies in 50 countries, and many have topped bestseller lists. Readers were especially attracted to the breadth and sweep of his books, even as critics were less than enthusiastic about his prose.

Baltimore native and son of immigrants dropped out of high school after failing English three times and joined the Marines, serving in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, he turned to writing full-time. In 1956, he reported on the Middle East conflict; “Mitla Pass” was an autobiographical perspective on the Sinai campaign. The book’s editor, Herman Gollob, described Uris as a “committed Jew” and a larger-than-life character.

Uris himself admitted to being difficult, ruthless and “hurt(ing) a lot of people on the way up.” He even feuded with Preminger and Hitchcock, and was involved in lawsuits regarding and “Topaz” and “Exodus.”

Married three times, he is survived by five children.

More Scene

  • Michael Moore Omarosa

    'Mueller Investigation Is Going to Rock Washington,' Omarosa Says at 'Fahrenheit 11/9' Premiere

    Scribe-journo-adventurer Leon Uris, best known for his massive tomes “Exodus” (1958) and “Trinity” (1976) and the screenplay for 1957’s “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” died from congestive heart failure at his home on New York’s Shelter Island Saturday. He was 78. “Exodus,” about the creation of Israel, became a global bestseller and later an acclaimed […]

  • Dave ChappelleDave Chappelle in concert, Radio

    Will Smith, LeBron James, Jon Stewart Join Dave Chappelle for All-Star Stand-Up Show

    Scribe-journo-adventurer Leon Uris, best known for his massive tomes “Exodus” (1958) and “Trinity” (1976) and the screenplay for 1957’s “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” died from congestive heart failure at his home on New York’s Shelter Island Saturday. He was 78. “Exodus,” about the creation of Israel, became a global bestseller and later an acclaimed […]

  • Constance Wu, Jimmy O. Yang. Constance

    Emmys 2018: What You Didn't See on TV

    Scribe-journo-adventurer Leon Uris, best known for his massive tomes “Exodus” (1958) and “Trinity” (1976) and the screenplay for 1957’s “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” died from congestive heart failure at his home on New York’s Shelter Island Saturday. He was 78. “Exodus,” about the creation of Israel, became a global bestseller and later an acclaimed […]

  • Ever Carradine, Madeline Brewer and Chrissy

    Emmys 2018: Inside All the Post-Show Parties

    Scribe-journo-adventurer Leon Uris, best known for his massive tomes “Exodus” (1958) and “Trinity” (1976) and the screenplay for 1957’s “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” died from congestive heart failure at his home on New York’s Shelter Island Saturday. He was 78. “Exodus,” about the creation of Israel, became a global bestseller and later an acclaimed […]

  • House With a Clock in Its

    Cate Blanchett Would Love a Job on Television

    Scribe-journo-adventurer Leon Uris, best known for his massive tomes “Exodus” (1958) and “Trinity” (1976) and the screenplay for 1957’s “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” died from congestive heart failure at his home on New York’s Shelter Island Saturday. He was 78. “Exodus,” about the creation of Israel, became a global bestseller and later an acclaimed […]

  • Director Joe Russo, right, chef Jessica

    Avengers, 'Community' Stars Assemble to Welcome Joe Russo's New Restaurant Simone

    Scribe-journo-adventurer Leon Uris, best known for his massive tomes “Exodus” (1958) and “Trinity” (1976) and the screenplay for 1957’s “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” died from congestive heart failure at his home on New York’s Shelter Island Saturday. He was 78. “Exodus,” about the creation of Israel, became a global bestseller and later an acclaimed […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content