Larry McMurtry death: Oscar-winning novelist and Brokeback Mountain screenwriter dies aged 84

Prolific writer authored 29 novels over the course of his long career, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than 30 screenplays

Rachel Brodsky
Los Angeles
Friday 26 March 2021 18:18
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<p>Larry McMurtry, Oscar-winning novelist and screenwriter, dies aged 84</p>

Larry McMurtry, Oscar-winning novelist and screenwriter, dies aged 84

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Celebrated novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry, best known for authoring Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment, and for co-writing the adapted screenplay for Brokeback Mountain, has died. He was 84.

The news was confirmed by his representative, Amanda Lundberg. No other details were made available.

Born in Texas, the prolific writer authored 29 novels over the course of his long career, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than 30 screenplays.

His first published novel was 1961's Horseman, Pass By, which was adapted into the 1963 drama Hud, featuring Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, and Patricia Neal.

An Oscar winner, McMurtry received his first Academy nomination (alongside director Peter Bogdanovich) for adapting his 1966 semi-autobiographical book for the 1971 coming-of-age classic The Last Picture Show.

McMurtry was also known for writing 1975's Terms of Endearment, which was later adapted to the big screen and won five Oscars in 1984.

Lonesome Dove, meanwhile, was adapted into a four-part miniseries starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, with a teleplay by William D Wittliff. It garnered seven Emmys and earned groundbreaking ratings for CBS in 1989, with more than 26 million viewers tuning in every night.

Later in his career, McMurtry and collaborator Diana Ossana co-wrote the Brokeback Mountain (2005) screenplay, which was directed by Ang Lee and was adapted from an 11-page short story by Annie Proulx that ran in The New Yorker in 1997.

In 2015, former President Barack Obama presented McMurtry with the National Humanities Medal.

Terms of Endearment director James L Brooks remembered McMurtry on Twitter as "among the best writers ever".

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“Sitting here thinking of the greatness of Larry McMurtry,” he wrote. “Among the best writers ever. I remember when he sent me on my way to adapt ‘Terms’ - his refusal to let me hold him in awe. And the fact that he was personally working the cash register of his rare book store as he did so.”

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