Jim Harrison, Prolific Writer and Author of Legends of the Fall, Dead at 78


Jim Harrison, the versatile fiction writer, poet, and essayist whose vast oeuvre notably includes the novella-turned-film Legends of the Fall, died Saturday at his Arizona home. The 78-year-old’s publisher, Grove Atlantic, confirmed Harrison’s death with the New York Times, but didn’t share a cause. An avid outdoorsman, Harrison’s uniquely uninhibited writings often painted scenes in wild and rural settings. “His voice came from the American heartland,” his publisher said in a statement, “and his deep and abiding love of the American landscape runs through his extraordinary body of work.”

Over the course of a roughly five-decade career, the Michigan native produced nearly 40 titles, including several fiction and poetry releases, two essay collections, a memoir, and even a children’s book. His latest poems were published in January’s Dead Man’s Float, and a new set of novellas came out earlier this month with The Ancient Minstrel. Harrison also enjoyed a stint as a screenwriter in the ’90s, earning credits on such film adaptations as Legends, with Brat Pitt and Anthony Hopkins; the Kevin Costner–starrer Revenge; and Wolf, with Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and James Spader. In 1969, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his poetry, and in 2007 he landed a spot in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He’s survived by his sister, brother, two daughters, and three grandchildren.

Writer Jim Harrison Dead at 78