Life and Works
L'Amour was born Louis Dearborne LaMoore on March 22, 1908, in North Dakota. He was the son of a livestock veterinarian (later Livestock Inspector) in a farming town, and as a child, L'Amour sometimes saw cowboys that went by on the railroad tracks, listened to his grandfather's stories about great battles, and enjoyed reading at the library where his sister was the librarian. He dropped out of high school at age 15 and worked as a fruit picker, miner, cowboy, seaman, professional boxer, and, during World War Two, as a Marine. He wrote a few short stories during the time and read literary texts at the University of Oklahoma, but most of his writing he did after settling down in Los Angeles and writing short stories under the name Jim Mayo and continuing a trite Western series under the name Tex Burns, and even then, his serious writing didn't begin until he wrote his first novel, Hondo (1953). It became a film starring John Wayne, and this encouraged him to continue writing novels for film such as Kilkenny (1954), Guns of the Timberland (1955), The Burning Hills (1956), and How the West Was Won (1963), which made him the first novelist to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He died on June 10, 1988, in Los Angeles.
- "L'Amour, Louis." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.