Elmer Kelton, 83; won acclaim for his Western novels

Associated Press / August 25, 2009

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SAN ANGELO, Texas - Western novelist Elmer Kelton, whose novel “The Good Old Boys’’ was made into a television movie starring Tommy Lee Jones, died Saturday of natural causes, a funeral home said. He was 83.

Mr. Kelton wrote 62 fiction and nonfiction books. “The Good Old Boys’’ was made into a 1995 television movie starring Jones for the TNT cable network. Mr. Kelton was also known for “The Man Who Rode Midnight’’ and “The Time It Never Rained.’’

His first novel, “Hot Iron,’’ was published in 1956, and he recently finished “Texas Standoff,’’ due out next year. Another novel, “Other Men’s Horses,’’ will be released this fall.

The Western Writers of America voted him “Best Western Author of All Time’’ and gave him its Spur Award seven times. Four of his books won the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Born in Crane, Mr. Kelton grew up on a ranch in West Texas. He served in the Army from 1944 to 1946 and saw combat in Europe during World War II.

He earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin and spent 15 years as the farm and ranch writer and editor for the San Angelo Standard-Times. He also worked as an editor for Sheep and Goat Raiser Magazine and Livestock Weekly.

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