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Author Leon Uris Dead at 78 - 2003-06-24

Author Leon Uris, a high school dropout who rose to write the million-selling book Exodus, has died in New York. His ex-wife says the 78-year-old writer died Saturday of natural causes.

Exodus, published in 1958, was an international sensation. The 600-page book chronicled European Jewry from the start of the 20th century to the founding of Israel in 1948.

The book was translated into dozens of languages and was circulated secretly in Communist countries.

Mr. Uris, whose father emigrated from Eastern Europe, once told the Associated Press he failed English three times and never finished high school. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II.

His first novel, Battle Cry, was published in 1953. Other writings included Trinity, an epic best-seller about Ireland, and Mila 18, the World War II story of a Jewish uprising in Poland's Warsaw ghetto.