Leon Uris
Overview
 
Leon Marcus Uris was an American novelist
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

, known for his historical fiction and the deep research that went into his novels. His two bestselling books were Exodus
Exodus (novel)
Exodus by American novelist Leon Uris is about the founding of the State of Israel. Published in 1958, it is based on the name of the 1947 immigration ship Exodus....

, published in 1958, and Trinity
Trinity (novel)
Trinity is a novel by American author Leon Uris, published in 1976 by Doubleday.-Introduction:The book tells the story of the intertwining lives of the following families: the Larkins and O'Neills, Catholic hill farmers from the fictional town of Ballyutogue in County Donegal; the Macleods,...

, in 1976.
Leon Uris was born in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Maryland, the son of Jewish-American parents Wolf William and Anna (Blumberg) Uris. His father, a Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

-born immigrant, was a paperhanger, then a storekeeper. His mother was first-generation Russian American
Russian American
Russian Americans are primarily Americans who traces their ancestry to Russia. The definition can be applied to recent Russian immigrants to the United States, as well as to settlers of 19th century Russian settlements in northwestern America which includes today's California, Alaska and...

.
Encyclopedia
Leon Marcus Uris was an American novelist
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

, known for his historical fiction and the deep research that went into his novels. His two bestselling books were Exodus
Exodus (novel)
Exodus by American novelist Leon Uris is about the founding of the State of Israel. Published in 1958, it is based on the name of the 1947 immigration ship Exodus....

, published in 1958, and Trinity
Trinity (novel)
Trinity is a novel by American author Leon Uris, published in 1976 by Doubleday.-Introduction:The book tells the story of the intertwining lives of the following families: the Larkins and O'Neills, Catholic hill farmers from the fictional town of Ballyutogue in County Donegal; the Macleods,...

, in 1976.

Life

Leon Uris was born in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Maryland, the son of Jewish-American parents Wolf William and Anna (Blumberg) Uris. His father, a Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

-born immigrant, was a paperhanger, then a storekeeper. His mother was first-generation Russian American
Russian American
Russian Americans are primarily Americans who traces their ancestry to Russia. The definition can be applied to recent Russian immigrants to the United States, as well as to settlers of 19th century Russian settlements in northwestern America which includes today's California, Alaska and...

. William spent a year in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 after World War I before entering the United States. He derived his surname from Yerushalmi, meaning "man of Jerusalem." (His brother Aron, Leon Uris' uncle, took the name Yerushalmi) "He was basically a failure," Uris later said of his father. "I think his personality was formed by the harsh realities of being a Jew in Czarist Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. I think failure formed his character, made him bitter."

At the age of six, Uris reportedly wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. Uris attended schools in Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

, Virginia and Baltimore, but never graduated from high school, and failed English three times. When Uris was seventeen and in his senior year of high school, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 and Uris enlisted in the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

. He served in the South Pacific
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

, where he was stationed in New Zealand, and fought as a radioman in combat on Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal is a tropical island in the South-Western Pacific. The largest island in the Solomons, it was discovered by the Spanish expedition of Alvaro de Mendaña in 1568...

 and Tarawa
Tarawa Atoll
Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is the location of the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, South Tarawa...


from 1942 through 1945. While recuperating from malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 in San Francisco, he met Betty Beck, a Marine sergeant; they married in 1945.

Coming out of the service, he worked for a newspaper, writing in his spare time. In 1950, Esquire magazine bought an article, and he began to devote himself to writing more seriously. Drawing on his experiences in Guadalcanal and Tarawa he produced the best-selling, Battle Cry, a novel depicting the toughness and courage of U.S. Marines in the Pacific. He then went to Warner Brothers in Hollywood helping to write the movie
Battle Cry (film)
Battle Cry is a 1955 CinemaScope film, starring Van Heflin, Aldo Ray, James Whitmore, Tab Hunter, Anne Francis, Dorothy Malone, Raymond Massey, and Mona Freeman...

, which was extremely popular with the public, if not the critics. Later he went on to write The Angry Hills
The Angry Hills
The Angry Hills is a novel written by the American novelist Leon Uris. It was adapted into a motion picture by the same name in 1959....

, a novel set in war-time Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

.

His best known work is the historical novel Exodus
Exodus (novel)
Exodus by American novelist Leon Uris is about the founding of the State of Israel. Published in 1958, it is based on the name of the 1947 immigration ship Exodus....

, which came out in 1958. Most sources say that Uris, motivated by an intense interest in Israel, financed his research for the novel by selling the film rights in advance to MGM and by writing newspaper articles about the Sinai campaign
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

. It is said that the book involved two years of research, and involved thousands of interviews.
Exodus illustrated the history of Palestine from the late 19th century through the founding of the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in 1948. It was a worldwide best-seller, translated into a dozen languages, and was made into a feature film
Exodus (film)
Exodus is a 1960 epic war film made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus, by Leon Uris. The screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo, which represented the breaking of the Hollywood...

 in 1960, starring Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

, directed by Otto Preminger
Otto Preminger
Otto Ludwig Preminger was an Austro–Hungarian-American theatre and film director.After moving from the theatre to Hollywood, he directed over 35 feature films in a five-decade career. He rose to prominence for stylish film noir mysteries such as Laura and Fallen Angel...

, as well as into a short-lived Broadway musical (12 previews, 19 performances) in 1971. Uris' novel Topaz was adapted for the screen and directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

.

Uris' subsequent works included: Mila 18
Mila 18
Mila 18 is a novel by Leon Uris set in German-occupied Warsaw, Poland before and during World War II. Leon Uris's work, based on real events, covers the Nazi occupation of Poland and the atrocities of systematically dehumanising and eliminating the Jewish People of Poland...

, a story of the Warsaw ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Jewish Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 15, 1940, in the territory of General Government of the German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity...

 uprising; Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin
Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin
Armageddon, or Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin is a novel by Leon Uris about post-World War II Berlin and Germany. The novel starts in London during WWII, and goes through to the Four Power occupation of Berlin and the Soviet blockade by land of the city's western boroughs...

, which chronicles the transition from early Military Government by the Western Allies leading up to, working through the Airlift (die Luftbrücke) and ends with the lifting of the Berlin Blockade in 1949; Trinity, an epic novel about Ireland's struggle for independence; QB VII
QB VII
QB VII by Leon Uris was a best seller published in 1970. This four-part novel highlights the events leading to a life-shattering libel trial in the United Kingdom.-Plot summary:...

, a novel about the role of a Polish doctor in a German concentration camp
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

 ; and The Haj
The Haj (novel)
The Haj is a novel published in 1984 by American author Leon Uris about a Palestinian Arab family caught up in the area’s historic events of the 1920s-1950s as witnessed by Ishmael, the youngest son...

, with insights into the history of the Middle East and the secret machinations of foreigners which have led to today's turmoil.

He also wrote the screenplays for Battle Cry
Battle Cry (film)
Battle Cry is a 1955 CinemaScope film, starring Van Heflin, Aldo Ray, James Whitmore, Tab Hunter, Anne Francis, Dorothy Malone, Raymond Massey, and Mona Freeman...

and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Uris was married three times: to Betty Beck, with whom he had three children, from 1945 through their divorce in 1968; Marjorie Edwards in 1969, who died a year later by suicide with a handgun. His third wife was Jill Peabody, with whom he had two children. They married in 1970 and divorced in 1989.

Leon Uris died of renal failure
Renal failure
Renal failure or kidney failure describes a medical condition in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter toxins and waste products from the blood...

 at his Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 home on Shelter Island
Shelter Island (town), New York
Shelter Island is a town and island at the eastern end of Long Island in the U.S. state of New York. It forms the tip of Suffolk County and is separated from the rest of the county by water. The population was 2,228 at the 2000 census.-Geography:...

, aged 78.

Leon Uris's papers can be found at the Ransom Center, University of Texas in Austin. The collection includes all of Uris's novels, with the exception of The Haj and Mitla Pass, as well as manuscripts for the screenplay, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Selected titles

  • Battle Cry, 1953
  • The Angry Hills
    The Angry Hills
    The Angry Hills is a novel written by the American novelist Leon Uris. It was adapted into a motion picture by the same name in 1959....

    , 1955
  • Exodus
    Exodus (novel)
    Exodus by American novelist Leon Uris is about the founding of the State of Israel. Published in 1958, it is based on the name of the 1947 immigration ship Exodus....

    , 1958
  • Exodus Revisited, 1960 (GB title: In the Steps of Exodus)
  • Mila 18
    Mila 18
    Mila 18 is a novel by Leon Uris set in German-occupied Warsaw, Poland before and during World War II. Leon Uris's work, based on real events, covers the Nazi occupation of Poland and the atrocities of systematically dehumanising and eliminating the Jewish People of Poland...

    , 1961
  • Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin
    Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin
    Armageddon, or Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin is a novel by Leon Uris about post-World War II Berlin and Germany. The novel starts in London during WWII, and goes through to the Four Power occupation of Berlin and the Soviet blockade by land of the city's western boroughs...

    , 1963
  • Topaz
    Topaz (novel)
    Topaz is a thriller novel written by Leon Uris and published in 1967.-Plot:The Cold War-era story concerns an alleged plot between the Soviet Union and Cuba, and a spy ring with connections to both. It also speaks about the Russian infiltrations into the French intelligence...

    , 1967
  • The Third Temple (with Strike Zion by William Stevenson), 1967
  • QB VII
    QB VII
    QB VII by Leon Uris was a best seller published in 1970. This four-part novel highlights the events leading to a life-shattering libel trial in the United Kingdom.-Plot summary:...

    , 1970
  • Ireland, A Terrible Beauty, 1975 (with Jill Uris)
  • Trinity
    Trinity (novel)
    Trinity is a novel by American author Leon Uris, published in 1976 by Doubleday.-Introduction:The book tells the story of the intertwining lives of the following families: the Larkins and O'Neills, Catholic hill farmers from the fictional town of Ballyutogue in County Donegal; the Macleods,...

    , 1976
  • Jerusalem: A Song of Songs, 1981 (with Jill Uris)
  • The Haj
    The Haj (novel)
    The Haj is a novel published in 1984 by American author Leon Uris about a Palestinian Arab family caught up in the area’s historic events of the 1920s-1950s as witnessed by Ishmael, the youngest son...

    , 1984
  • Mitla Pass
    Mitla Pass (novel)
    Mitla Pass is a novel written by the American novelist Leon Uris.Gideon Zadok is an American author who is to follow an airborne team to secure the Mitla Pass during the Suez Crisis and thereby becomes involved in the Mitla incident when colonel Zechariah decides to capture it despite other orders...

    , 1988
  • Redemption
    Redemption (novel)
    Redemption is a novel by author Leon Uris. It is a sequel to his epic 1976 book, Trinity.Set mainly in the first half of the twentieth century in the years leading to the Irish Easter Rising, it tells the stories of the Irish revolutionary Conor Larkin's family, his brothers Liam and Dary, and...

    , 1995
  • A God in Ruins
    A God in Ruins
    A God in Ruins is a 1999 novel by Leon Uris.Set between the 1940s and 2008, the book follows the life of Quinn Patrick O'Connell, the fictional Democratic candidate for the 2008 United States Presidency, his family, and the life of his opponent, Thornton Tomtree...

    , 1999
  • O'Hara's Choice, 2003

See also



Further reading

  • Ira Nadel. Leon Uris: Life of a Best Seller (University of Texas Press; 2010) 376 pages; scholarly biography

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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