Larry McMurtry

Date Of Birth:
3 June 1936
Date Of Death:
25 March 2021
congestive heart failure
Place Of Birth:
Wichita Falls, Texas
Best Known As:
The author of Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry was the Pulitzer and Oscar winner who wrote the novel Lonesome Dove and co-wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain (for which he shared the Academy Award with collaborator Diana Ossana). Larry McMurtry grew up in the small town of Archer City, Texas and is strongly associated with tales of the American frontier. A skeptic of glowing tales of cowboy heroics, McMurtry wrote books about the west that were gritty and unromantic. While proclaiming himself a shy Texas lad, McMurtry proved to be a prolific and savvy scribe whose works also became popular as novels, feature films and television mini-series. His first novel, Horseman, Pass By (1961), was made into the Paul Newman film Hud (1963). His 1966 novel The Last Picture Show was made into a critically acclaimed 1971 movie that earned McMurtry an Oscar nomination for screenwriting. His most famous novel remains Lonesome Dove, the 1985 cattle drive epic that won a Pulitzer Prize and was made into a hit TV mini-series starring Robert Duvall in 1989. McMurtry is also the guy who wrote Terms of Endearment, the 1975 novel that became the 1983 hit movie with Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine. McMurtry wrote several novels with the same characters: the Last Picture Show novels include Texasville (1987) and Duane's Depression (1999), and the Lonesome Dove novels include The Streets of Laredo (1993) and Comanche Moon (1997). His other books included Buffalo Girls (1990), Boone's Lick (2000) and the memoir Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen (1999).
Extra Credit

Some of Larry McMurtry’s later books and screenplays were written with his longtime writing partner, Diana Ossana (born 1949). Although McMurtry sometimes lived in Ossana’s home, theirs did not seem to be a romantic partnership… Larry McMurtry owned several book stores, beginning in 1971. His store Booked Up in Archer City, Texas “once occupied six buildings and contained some 400,000 volumes,” according to his 2021 obituary in The New York Times. McMurtry auctioned off more than half of those books and downsized to a single building after a 2012 consolidation… Larry McMurtry and author Ken Kesey were friends and friendly rivals after meeting in a creative writing seminar at Stanford in 1960; McMurtry ended up marrying Kesey’s widow, Faye Kesey, in 2011.

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