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'Exodus' author, Leon Uris, dead at 78

June 24, 2003 at 2:31 PM

NEW YORK, June 24 (UPI) -- Leon Uris, the author of "Exodus," died in his New York home on Shelter Island during the weekend at age 78.

His best-known work was perhaps "Exodus," the story of the struggle to establish and defend the state of Israel.

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He also wrote, "Mila 18," "QB VII," "Trinity," "The Haj," and "Topaz" -- the latter of which was adapted into a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Uris, who dropped out of school at 17 to join the U.S. Marines, served in the South Pacific 1942-45, an experience that provided the inspiration for his debut work in 1953, "Battle Cry," a novel about a battalion of Marines during World War II, the Aspen (Colo.) Times reported.

The Marine Corps will give him a traditional memorial service in Quantico, Va. His tombstone will read "American Marine Jewish Writer."

He is survived by five children and two grandchildren.

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