Jim Harrison
Credit: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Jim Harrison, the writer and poet whose works include the historical saga Legends of the Fall, has died at the age of 78.

A spokeswoman for Harrison’s publishing house, Grove Atlantic, told the Associated Press that he died at his home in Patagonia, Arizona, on Saturday. She did not know the cause of death.

Harrison was the author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, his most recent work being a collection of three novellas called The Ancient Minstrel. Legends of the Fall was arguably his most famous work, as it was adapted into a feature film in 1994 starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins.

Harrison also dabbled in screenplays, notably with the Kevin Costner-led Revenge, which adapted from his own novella of the same name. The writer told The Paris Review in an interview that his “major dissappointment in Hollywood” came when a deal fell through for Jack Nicholson to star. He’d eventually work with the actor on Wolf, for which Harrison also wrote the screenplay.

In one of his last interviews, published in the Los Angeles Times last December, Harrison described his initial calling to write poetry. “I was out on the roof at night in the summer, stars, the Milky Way, and I got just absorbed into poetry. I thought it was actually my calling that night.”

He continued, “And then, when my dad and my sister got killed [in a car accident] a couple years later, I realized that even though I was married there couldn’t be any higher obligation on earth. Because if people you love die what are you going to do?”

Legends of the Fall
  • Movie
  • 133 minutes