Leigh Brackett

Leigh Brackett & Edmond Hamilton

Leigh Douglass Brackett (1915–1978) was an American author, particularly of science fiction, who’s hardboiled style transcended the pulp material.

Photo copyright Dave Truesdale.


Planetary Romance

Brackett wrote a number of

Secret of SinharatPeople of the Talisman


The Big Sleep posterBrackett was also a successful screenwriter, beginning modestly with The Vampire’s Ghost in 1945 and Crime Doctor’s Manhunt (1946) but her non-sf novel No Good from a Corpse (1944) soon brought her to the attention of Howard Hawks‘s who hired her to co-script The Big Sleep (1946) with William Faulkner and Jules Furthman.

The film, an adaptation of Raymond Chandler‘s novel The Big Sleep (1939) is widely regarded as a classic film noir.






Brackett went on to script Hawkes’ classic Westerns Rio Bravo (with Jules Furthman and B.H. McCampbell, 1959), El Dorado (1967) and Rio Lobo (with Burton Wohl, 1970), together with the African adventure movie Hatari! (with Harry Kurnitz, 1962)  all of which starred John Wayne. Her contribution to Hawkes’ Man’s Favorite Sport? (1964) was uncredited.

Rio BravoHatari poster

El Dorado The Big TwoRio Lobo



Brackett also scripted Robert Altman’s quirky The Long Goodbye (1973) based on another Raymond Chandler novel.

Long Goodbye posterThe Empire Strikes Back

Her final script was the early draft of George LucasThe Empire Strikes Back (1980), by far the best of the Star Wars films: it won the Hugo Award in 1981

  1. Please give attribution for the Brackett/Hamilton photo or remove it. It is copyrighted by me, Dave Truesdale when I interviewed both of them back in 1976.


    You’ll notice that the smudge in the upper right corner of the version of the photo you used is missing from the later version I had leaned up.

    Thank you,
    Dave Truesdale

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