"You expect far too much of a first sentence. Think of it as analogous to a good country breakfast: what we want is something simple, but nourishing to the imagination." -- Larry McMurtry
Larry Jeff McMurtry (born June 3, 1936) is an American novelist, essayist, bookseller and screenwriter whose work is predominantly set in either the old West or in contemporary Texas. He is known for his 1985 novel Lonesome Dove, a historical saga that follows ex-Texas Rangers as they drive their cattle from the Rio Grande to a new home in the frontier of Montana, and for co-writing the adapted screenplay for Brokeback Mountain.Lonesome Dove was adapted into a television miniseries.
"A man that ain't willin' to cheat for a poke don't want it bad enough.""Americans don't want cowboys to be gay.""Backward is just not a natural direction for Americans to look - historical ignorance remains a national characteristic.""If we know anything about man, it's that he's not pacific. The temptation to butcher anyone considered undesirable seems to be a common temptation, not always resisted.""Incompetents invariably make trouble for people other than themselves.""Members of the Academy are mostly urban people. We are an urban nation. We are not a rural nation. It's not easy even to get a rural story made.""No illusion is more crucial than the illusion that great success and huge money buy you immunity from the common ills of mankind, such as cars that won't start.""One of the things that Ang brings to all of his projects is his deep sense of being a double exile, an outsider's outsider.""Self-parody is the first portent of age.""True maturity is only reached when a man realizes he has become a father figure to his girlfriends' boyfriends - and he accepts it."
McMurtry was born in Archer City, Texas, the son of Hazel Ruth (née McIver) and William Jefferson McMurtry, who was a rancher. He grew up on a ranch outside Archer City, Texas, which is the model for the town of Thalia that appears in much of his fiction. He earned degrees from North Texas State University (B.A. 1958) and Rice University (M.A. 1960).
McMurtry has won the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters on three occasions; in 1962, for Horseman, Pass By; in 1967, for The Last Picture Show, which he shared with Tom Pendleton's The Iron Orchard; and in 1986, for Lonesome Dove. He has also won the Amon G. Carter award for periodical prose in 1966, for Texas: Good Times Gone or Here Again?.In 1964 he was awarded a Guggenheim grant. In 1960, McMurtry was also a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he studied the craft of fiction under novelist Wallace Stegner and alongside a number of other writers, including Ken Kesey, Peter S. Beagle, Robert Stone, and Gordon Lish. McMurtry and Kesey remained friends after McMurtry left California and returned to Texas, and Kesey's famous cross-country trip with his Merry Pranksters in a day-glo painted schoolbus 'Further' included a stop at McMurtry's home in Houston, described in Tom Wolfe's New-Journalistic book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
While at Stanford he became a rare-book scout, and during his years in Houston managed a book store there called the Bookman. In 1969 he moved to the Washington, D. C. area, and in 1970 with two partners started a bookshop in Georgetown which he named Booked Up. In 1988 he opened another Booked Up in Archer City, which is one of the largest single used bookstores in the United States, carrying somewhere between 400,000 and 450,000 titles. Citing economic pressures from Internet bookselling, McMurtry came close to shutting down the Archer City store in 2005, but chose to keep it open after an outpouring of public support.
McMurtry has been a regular contributor to The New York Review of Booksand is a past president of PEN. He is perhaps best known for the film adaptations of his work, especially Hud (from the novel Horseman, Pass By), starring Paul Newman and Patricia Neal; the Peter Bogdanovich directed The Last Picture Show; James L. Brooks's Terms of Endearment, which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1984); and Lonesome Dove, which became a popular television mini-series starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall.
In 2006, he was co-winner (with Diana Ossana) of both the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. He accepted his Oscar wearing jeans and cowboy boots along with his dinner jacket and used his speech to promote books by reminding his audience that "Brokeback Mountain" was a short story by E. Annie Proulx before it was a movie. In his Golden Globe acceptance speech, he paid tribute to his Swiss-made Hermes 3000 typewriter.
1961 - Horseman, Pass By - adapted for film as Hud
1963 - Leaving Cheyenne - adapted for film as Lovin' Molly
1966 - The Last Picture Show - adapted into a film of the same name
1968 - In A Narrow Grave
1970 - Moving On - This 1970 book was given high reviews by several women's organizations for its unflinching depiction of the main character Patsy Carpenter (who later appears in All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, Terms of Endearment, and The Evening Star)
1972 - All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers - a continuation of characters from Moving On
1974 - It's Always We Rambled (essay)
1975 - Terms of Endearment - a continuation of characters from Moving On and All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers - adapted into a film of the same name
1978 - Somebody's Darling - a continuation of the character Jill Peel from All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers
1982 - Cadillac Jack
1983 - Desert Rose
1985 - Lonesome Dove, 1986 Pulitzer Prize winner, and first of what became a series
1987 - Texasville - adapted into a film of the same name - A continuation of the story begun in The Last Picture Show
1987 - Film Flam
1988 - Anything For Billy
1988 - The Murder of Mary Phagan - TV story
1989 - Some Can Whistle - a continuation of the story begun in All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers.
1990 - Buffalo Girls - adapted into a TV movie
1990 - Montana - TV movie
1992 - The Evening Star - adapted for film as The Evening Star - A continuation of the story begun in Terms of Endearment and Moving On and All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers
1992 - Memphis - TV movie
1992 - Falling from Grace
1993 - Streets of Laredo, another in the Lonesome Dove series
1994 - Pretty Boy Floyd (with Diana Ossana)
1995 - Dead Man's Walk, another in the Lonesome Dove series
1995 - The Late Child - a continuation of the story begun in Desert Rose
1997 - Comanche Moon, the last of the Lonesome Dove series
1997 - Zeke and Ned (with Diana Ossana)
1999 - Crazy Horse
1999 - Duane's Depressed - A continuation of The Last Picture Show and Texasville story
1999 - Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen
1999 - Still Wild: A Collection of Western Stories
2000 - Roads: Driving America's Great Highways
2000 - Boone's Lick
2001 - Sacagawea's Nickname (essays on the American West)
2002 - Sin Killer - The Berrybender Narratives, Book 1
2002 - Paradise
2002 - Johnson County War - TV mini-series
2003 - The Wandering Hill - The Berrybender Narratives, Book 2
2003 - By Sorrow's River - The Berrybender Narratives, Book 3
2004 - A Novel - The Berrybender Narratives, Book 4
2005 - Brokeback Mountain (with Diana Ossana) - Oscar-winning screenplay (adapted from the short story by E. Annie Proulx)
2005 - The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley & the Beginnings of Superstardom in America (May)
2005 - Oh What A Slaughter!
2005 - Loop Group
2006 - Telegraph Days
2007 - When The Light Goes - A continuation of The Last Picture Show, Texasville, and Duane's Depressed story
2008 - Books: A Memoir
2009 - Rhino Ranch: A Novel (Aug) - Last book of the The Last Picture Show, Texasville, Duane's Depressed, and When The Light Goes story
2009 - Literary Life, A Second Memoir
2010 - Boone's Lick - McMurtry will be co-writing the screenplay for the film adaptation of his 2000 novel