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 Leon Uris

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Leon Uris

Author. He was an American novelist, dramatist, nonfiction writer, and scriptwriter. His bestselling historical novels, which usually have a huge host of characters, were based on storylines within a timeline from World War II and the aftermath until the 1960’s. Uris pulled from his family’s history and faith, along with his military service, to write his novels. He was the son of Wolf William Uris, an immigrate shopkeeper whose original surname had been changed to “Uris”. His mother, Anna Blumberg Uris was a first generation American, and both were Jews of Russian-Polish origin. Uris did poorly in school having to take an English class three times before passing, but he dreamed of becoming a writer. Having parents with English as their second language may have caused a learning barrier for him. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, he dropped out of high school in his senior year to join the Marines Corps. He served as radio operator in the campaigns at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. Written in 1958, “Exodus” was his most well-known novel. The storyline was about the Jewish fight for independence resulting in foundation of the state of Israel. This novel was developed into a screenplay, and with Paul Newman starring, the over 3-hour film was successful netting over 20 million dollars worldwide. While during research for this novel, he was employed as a war correspondent, reporting on the Sinai campaign in the fall of 1956. With only one magazine article published and dozens of rejection letters, his first novel “Battle Cry”, was written in 1953; the storyline was a realistic account of Marine Corps life during World War II. The novel was a commercial success, Warner Brothers Studios purchased the film-right, and Uris went to Hollywood to write the screenplay. He followed this screenplay with another, "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” in 1957. Critics from the “New York Herald Tribune” proclaimed it as "an almost perfect film." His second novel, “The Angry Hills”, was written in 1955 with the storyline about the resistance to the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II; his uncle had served in Greece during the war. In 1961, he wrote “Mila” with a storyline about the Jewish defense of the Warsaw ghetto during the German occupation of Poland. Written in 1964, “Armageddo” has the storyline of the rebuilding of Berlin. “Topaz”, which was written 1967, was a spy story based on Soviet influence in the French government during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. In “QB VII”, which was written in 1970, the author dramatizes a libel suit actually brought against him by a German physician who claimed to have been maligned in his famous novel, “Exodus”. The physician won the libel suit in British courts, was awarded a mere half-penny but had to pay court cost of over $88,000. This novel was also made into a movie. His 1976 novel’s storyline was about Ireland's troubled history from 1840 to 1916; the title was “Trinity”. Written in 1984, “The Haj” examines the Palestinian refugee situation in Israel as it existed until the late 1950s. Other novels were Mitla Pass" in 1988, which was about his own experiences during the 1956 Sinai campaign; "Redemption" in 1995, which was a sequel to "Trinity"; and "A God in Ruins" in 1999, which was about an Irish Catholic presidential candidate opposed to guns who turns out to be Jewish. His last novel, "O'Hara's Choice," was a love story involving the history of the Marines and was published posthumously in 2005. Although these novels are very popular with American readers, the author did take liberties on historical points according to noted writers and literary critics Sharon D. Downey and Richard A. Kallan. They stated that his work was “an example of a growing trend in literature in which documentary novels and literary journalism blur the boundaries between fact and fiction” and may have a propaganda agenda. He was very successful writer, but in the beginning, he had dozens upon dozens of rejection letters, yet determined to continue with his dream.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Erik Lander
  • Added: 23 Jun 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7611228
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Leon Uris (3 Aug 1924–21 Jun 2003), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7611228, citing Quantico National Cemetery, Quantico, Prince William County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .