Leon Marcus Uris (August 3, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American novelist, known for his historical fiction and the deep research that went into his novels. His two bestselling books were Exodus, published in 1958, and Trinity, in 1976.
Leon Uris was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Jewish-American parents Wolf William and Anna (Blumberg) Uris. His father, a Polish-born immigrant, was a paperhanger, then a storekeeper. His mother was first-generation Russian American. William spent a year in Palestine after World War I before entering the United States. He derived his surname from Yerushalmi, meaning "man of Jerusalem." (His brother Aron, Leon Uris' uncle, took the name Yerushalmi) "He was basically a failure," Uris later said of his father. "I think his personality was formed by the harsh realities of being a Jew in Czarist Russia. I think failure formed his character, made him bitter."
At the age of six, Uris reportedly wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. Uris attended schools in Norfolk, Virginia and Baltimore, but never graduated from high school, and failed English three times. When Uris was seventeen and in his senior year of high school, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Uris enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served in the South Pacific as a radioman (in combat) at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and New Zealand from 1942 through 1945. While recuperating from malaria in San Francisco, he met Betty Beck, a Marine sergeant; they married in 1945.