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Leon Uris's Biography

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Leon Marcus Uris was born in Baltimore, Maryland on 3 August 1924, the son of a Jewish Russian immigrant.

Leon Uris failed English three times and dropped out of high school and joined the Marine Corps, taking part in the battles in the Pacific in World War II. His experiences led to his first novel Battle Cry, published in 1953.

Leon Uris claimed his personality was shaped by the failures of his father, who was a paper hanger and storekeeper, saying:

"I think his personality was formed by the harsh realities of being a Jew in Czarist Russia. He was basically a failure. He went from failure to failure. I think failure formed his character, made him bitter.

"I think I can say without hesitation that from earliest memory I was determined not to be a failure."

After the spy story, The Angry Hills Leon Uris concentrated his research on what was to be his most famous book, Exodus (1958), which tells the story of the birth of the Israeli nation.

It became a best-seller and was turned into a film starring Paul Newman. Reportedly Leon Uris fell out with the director, Otto Preminger.

The book, Exodus, was the subject of a libel suit by Dr Wladislav Dering, who was depicted as a war criminal. The court ruled in Dering's favour in 1964, but awarded him minimal damages and made him pay court costs.

Other famous books by Leon Uris include Mila 18, Trinity, Topaz and his most personal novel, Mitla Pass.

Leon Uris died on 21 June 2003.

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