Louis L Amour Biography & Facts
Louis Dearborn L'Amour (; né LaMoore; March 22, 1908 – June 10, 1988) was an American novelist and short story writer. His books consisted primarily of Western novels (though he called his work "frontier stories"); however, he also wrote historical fiction (The Walking Drum), science fiction (The Haunted Mesa), non-fiction (Frontier), as well as poetry and short-story collections. Many of his stories were made into films. His books remain popular and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death almost all of his 105 existing works (89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction) were still in print, and he was "one of the world's most popular writers".
Life and career
Louis Dearborn LaMoore was born in Jamestown, North Dakota, on March 22, 1908, the seventh child of Emily Dearborn and veterinarian, local politician, and farm equipment broker Louis Charles LaMoore (who had changed the French spelling of the name L'Amour). His mother had Irish ancestry, while his father was of French-Canadian descent. His father had arrived in Dakota Territory in 1882. Although the area around Jamestown was mostly farm land, cowboys and livestock often traveled through Jamestown on their way to or from ranches in Montana and the markets to the east. Louis played "Cowboys and Indians" in the family barn, which served as his father's veterinary hospital, and spent much of his free time at the local library, the Alfred E. Dickey Free Library, particularly reading the works of 19th-century British historical boys' author G. A. Henty. L'Amour once said, "[Henty's works] enabled me to go into school with a great deal of knowledge that even my teachers didn't have about wars and politics."
After a series of bank failures devastated the economy of the upper Midwest, Dr. LaMoore and Emily took to the road. Removing Louis and his adopted brother John from school, they headed south in the winter of 1923. Over the next seven or eight years, they skinned cattle in west Texas, baled hay in the Pecos Valley of New Mexico, worked in the mines of Arizona, California and Nevada, and in the sawmills and lumber camps of the Pacific Northwest. It was in colorful places like these that Louis met a wide variety of people, upon whom he later modeled the characters in his novels, many of them actual Old West personalities who had survived into the 1920s and 1930s.
Making his way as a mine assessment worker, professional boxer and merchant seaman, Louis traveled the country and the world, sometimes with his family, sometimes not. He visited all of the western states plus England, Japan, China, Borneo, the Dutch East Indies, Arabia, Egypt, and Panama, finally moving with his parents to Choctaw, Oklahoma in the early 1930s. There, he changed his name to the original French spelling "L'Amour" and settled down to try to make something of himself as a writer.
He had success with poetry, articles on boxing and writing and editing sections of the WPA Guide Book to Oklahoma, but the dozens of short stories he was churning out met with little acceptance. Finally, L'Amour placed a story, Death Westbound, in "10 Story Book", a magazine that featured what was supposed to be quality writing (Jack Woodford, author of several books on writing, is published in the same edition as L'Amour) alongside scantily attired, or completely naked young women. Several years later, L'Amour placed his first story for pay, Anything for a Pal, published in True Gang Life. Two lean disappointing years passed after that, and then, in 1938, his stories began appearing in pulp magazines fairly regularly.
Along with other adventure and crime stories, L'Amour created the character of mercenary sea captain Jim Mayo. Starting with East of Gorontalo, the series ran through nine episodes from 1940 until 1943. L'Amour wrote only one story in the western genre prior to World War II, 1940's The Town No Guns Could Tame.
World War II service and post-war
L'Amour continued as an itinerant worker, traveling the world as a merchant seaman until the start of World War II. During World War II, he served in the United States Army as a lieutenant with the 362nd Quartermaster Truck Company. In the two years before L'Amour was shipped off to Europe, L'Amour wrote stories for Standard Magazine. After World War II, L'Amour continued to write stories for magazines; his first after being discharged in 1946 was Law of the Desert Born in Dime Western Magazine (April 1946). L'Amour's contact with Leo Margulies led to L'Amour agreeing to write many stories for the Western pulp magazines published by Standard Magazines, a substantial portion of which appeared under the name "Jim Mayo". The suggestion of L'Amour writing Hopalong Cassidy novels also was made by Margulies who planned on launching Hopalong Cassidy's Western Magazine at a time when the William Boyd films and new television series were becoming popular with a new generation. L'Amour read the original Hopalong Cassidy novels, written by Clarence E. Mulford, and wrote his novels based on the original character under the name "Tex Burns". Only two issues of the Hopalong Cassidy Western Magazine were published, and the novels as written by L'Amour were extensively edited to meet Doubleday's thoughts of how the character should be portrayed in print. Strongly disagreeing—L'Amour preferred Mulford's original, much rougher characterization of Cassidy—for the rest of his life he denied authoring the novels.
In the 1950s, L'Amour began to sell novels. L'Amour's first novel, published under his own name, was Westward The Tide, published by World's Work in 1951. The short story The Gift of Cochise was printed in Colliers (5 July 1952) and seen by John Wayne and Robert Fellows, who purchased the screen rights from L'Amour for $4,000. James Edward Grant was hired to write a screenplay based on this story changing the main character's name from Ches Lane to Hondo Lane. L'Amour retained the right to novelize the screenplay and did so, even though the screenplay differed substantially from the original story. This was published as Hondo in 1953 and released on the same day the film opened with a blurb from John Wayne stating that "Hondo was the finest Western Wayne had ever read". During the remainder of the decade L'Amour produced a great number of novels, both under his own name as well as others (e. g. Jim Mayo). Also during this time he rewrote and expanded many of his earlier short story and pulp fiction stories to book length for various publishers.
Many publishers in the 1950s and '60s refused to publish more than one or two books a year by the same author. Louis's editor at Gold Medal supported his writing up to three or four but the heads of the company vetoed that idea even though Louis was publishing books with other houses. Louis had sold over a dozen novels and several million copies before Bantam Books editor-in.... Discover the Louis L Amour popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Louis L Amour books.