Author Jim Harrison, whose 1979 novella “Legends of the Fall” was made into the 1994 movie that helped turn Brad Pitt into a Hollywood superstar, died Saturday at his home in Patagonia, Arizona. The 78-year-old writer’s death was confirmed by his publisher Grove Atlantic, though no cause of death was given.
Splitting his time between homes in Livingston, Montana, and Patagonia, Harrison was a committed outdoorsman who also published 14 books of poetry and more than 20 books of fiction, memoir and essays. His novel “The Ancient Minstrel” hit bookstores this month, fast on the heels of his poetry volume “Dead Man’s Float.”
But it was his novella “Legends of the Fall” that earned Harrison a place in Hollywood history. The World War I-era (and after) tale of a Montana plains family was adapted by screenwriters Susan Shilliday and William D. Wittliff and directed by Edward Zwick, making a violent but elegiac vehicle for Anthony Hopkins, Aiden Quinn and, especially, Brad Pitt. John Toll’s lush, golden-hued cinematography won an Academy Award.
Harrison is survived by his two daughters.