His all-time favorite adaptation is the 1997 Quentin Tarantino film, "Jackie Brown," which was based on the Leonard novel "Rum Punch."
When Tarantino called to ask for guidance ahead of filming, Leonard remembered saying, "Do what you want. I like your work."
Tarantino is one of many Hollywood heavyweights who bow down at the altar of Leonard.
George Clooney hung out at Leonard's place while filming the big-screen adaptation of "Out of Sight," and members of Aerosmith — in town for a concert — also visited, taking a dip in Leonard's pool.
He'll be 87 in a few weeks. And while the slender, bespectacled man friends call "Dutch" is far removed from his days of riding along with Detroit homicide cops, he still writes every day in eight-hour shifts that are befitting his hometown's automotive legacy.
Leonard's father was a General Motors executive, and the future author penned advertising copy for Chevrolet as a younger man.
And Leonard follows the same writing protocols that have served him for decades.
He writes longhand on the 63-page unlined yellow pads that are custom-made for him, and when a page is completed, he transfers the words onto a separate piece of paper using a typewriter.
Leonard tries to complete a handful of pages by the time his workday ends at 6 p.m.
He may be on the cusp of becoming a lifetime achievement award winner, but Leonard has no intention of ending his life's work anytime soon.
"I probably won't quit until I just quit everything — quit my life — because it's all I know how to do," he said. "And it's fun. I do have fun writing, and a long time ago, I told myself, 'You gotta have fun at this, or it'll drive you nuts.'"
AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report from New York.
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