Larry (Jeff) McMurtry Biography (1936-)

Full name, Larry Jeff McMurtry; born June 3, 1936, in Wichita Falls, TX; sonof William Jefferson (a rancher) and Hazel Ruth (McIver) McMurtry; married Josephine Ballard, July 15, 1959 (divorced, 1966); children: James Lawrence. Career: Writer. Houston Post, Houston, TX, reviewer, 1960s; TexasChristian University, Fort Worth, TX, instructor, 1961-62; Rice University,Houston, TX, lecturer in English and creative writing, 1963-69; WashingtonPost, Washington, DC, reviewer; George Mason College, Fairfax, VA, visiting professor, 1970; American University, Washington, DC, visiting professor,1970-71; Booked Up Book Store, Washington, DC, Archer City, TX, and Tuscon,AZ, owner (with others), 1970-; American Film, New York City, contributing editor, beginning in 1975; PEN American Center, president, 1989-91; alsoworked as a rare book scout and a dealer for book stores in Texas and California. Member: Writers Guild of America, PEN, Texas Institute of Letters. Awards, Honors: Wallace Stegner fellow, 1960; Jesse H. Jones Award,Texas Institute of Letters, 1962, for Horseman, Pass By; Guggenheim fellow, 1964; British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award, and Academy Award nomination, best adapted screenplay, both 1973, for The Last PictureShow; Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Spur Award, Western Writers of America,and Texas Literary Award, Southwestern Booksellers Association, all 1986, for Lonesome Dove; Barbara McCombs/Lon Tinkle Award, Texas Institute ofLetters, 1986, for "continuing excellence in Texas letters." Addresses: Agent: William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.;Contact: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1230 Sixth Ave., New York, NY 10020-1513.

The University of Houston Library houses McMurtry's manuscripts.

Birth Details
June 3, 1936
Wichita Falls, Texas, United States

Famous Works

  • Television Work
  • Miniseries
  • Consultant, Return to Lonesome Dove, CBS, 1993
  • Executive producer, Streets of Laredo (also known as Larry McMurtry's Streets of Laredo), CBS, 1995
  • Executive producer, Dead Man's Walk (also known as Larry McMurtry's Dead Man's Walk), ABC, 1996
  • Taped Readings
  • Terms of Endearment, American Audio Prose Library, 1982
  • Other Recordings
  • Read selections from Somebody's Darling, recorded at the CoolidgeAuditorium, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 1977; participated in a discussion with novelist Francine du Plessix Gray and William McPherson of the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Washington, DC, 1981.
  • Screenplays
  • (With Peter Bogdanovich) The Last Picture Show, Columbia, 1971
  • Texasville, Columbia, 1990
  • Falling from Grace (also known as Riding the Cage and Souvenirs), Columbia, 1992
  • Brokeback Mountain, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1999
  • Unreleased screenplays include All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers, Crossing Niagara, Dance with Me Outside, Desert Rose, Honky Tonk Sue, Jubilee, and Somebody's Darling.
  • Teleplays
  • Movies
  • Montana, TNT, 1990
  • (With Cybill Shepherd and Susan Rhinehart) Memphis, TNT, 1992
  • Miniseries
  • Streets of Laredo (also known as Larry McMurtry's Streets of Laredo, CBS, 1995
  • Dead Man's Walk (also known as Larry McMurtry's Dead Man's Walk), ABC, 1996
  • Novels
  • Horseman, Pass By, Harper (New York City), 1961
  • Leaving Cheyenne, Harper, 1963
  • The Last Picture Show, Dial (New York City), 1966
  • Moving On, Simon & Schuster (New York City), 1970
  • All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers, Simon & Schuster, 1972
  • Terms of Endearment, Simon & Schuster, 1975
  • Somebody's Darling, Simon & Schuster, 1978
  • Cadillac Jack, Simon & Schuster, 1982
  • The Desert Rose, Simon & Schuster, 1983
  • Lonesome Dove, Simon & Schuster, 1985
  • Texasville Simon & Schuster, 1987
  • Anything for Billy, Simon & Schuster, 1988
  • Anything for Billy, Simon & Schuster, 1989
  • Some Can Whistle, Simon & Schuster, 1989
  • Buffalo Girls, Simon & Schuster, 1990
  • The Evening Star, Simon & Schuster, 1990
  • Streets of Laredo, Simon & Schuster, 1993
  • (With Diana Ossana) Pretty Boy Floyd, Simon & Schuster, 1994
  • Three Bestselling Novels (contains Lonesome Dove, Leaving Cheyenne, and The Last Picture Show), Wings Books (Avenel, NJ),1994
  • Dead Man's Walk, Simon & Schuster, 1995
  • The Late Child, Simon & Schuster, 1995
  • (With Diana Ossana) Zeke and Ned, Simon & Schuster, 1997
  • Commanche Moon, Simon & Schuster, 1997
  • Crazy Horse, Viking/Lipper (New York City), 1999
  • Duane's Depressed, Simon & Schuster, 1999
  • Essays
  • In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas, Encino Press (Austin, TX), 1968
  • It's Always We Rambled: An Essay on Rodeo, Hallman (New York City), 1974
  • Film Flam: Essays on Hollywood, Simon & Schuster, 1988
  • Nonfiction
  • (Author of foreword) Frederick L. Olmsted, Journey through Texas; or,a Saddle-Trip on the Southwestern Frontier, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1978
  • (Author of foreword) John R. Erickson, Panhandle Cowboy, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1980
  • (Author of introduction) Dan Flores, Canyon Visions: Photographs and Pastels of the Texas Plains, Texas Tech University Press (Lubbock, TX), 1989
  • (Author of introduction) Donna A. Demac, Liberty Denied: The Current Rise of Censorship in America, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1990
  • (Author of foreword) Growing Up Western, edited by Clarus Backes,Knopf (New York City), 1990
  • Other Writings
  • Larry McMurtry: Unredeemed Dreams, edited by Dorey Schmidt, Pan American University (Edinburg, TX), 1980
  • Contributor to books, including Texas in Transition, Lyndon BainesJohnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas Press, 1986; and Rodeo: No Guts, No Glory, by Louise L. Serpa, Aperture (New York City), 1994. Also the author of short stories. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including American Film, Atlantic, Avesta, Coexistence Review, GQ, Houston Post, New Republic, New York Times, Playboy, Saturday Review, Texas Monthly, Texas Quarterly, and the Washington Post.

Recent Updates

December 2003: McMurtry's book By Sorrow's River: The Berrybender Narratives, Book 3 was published by Simon & Schuster. Source: New York Times,, December 7, 2003.January 2005: McMurtry's novel Loop Group was published by Simon & Schuster. Source: New York Times,, January 4, 2005.February 4, 2005: McMurtry closed his rare and used bookstore, BookedUp, in Archer City, Texas, in order to spend time traveling. He stated that the closure is not necessarily permanent. Source: Booked Up web site,, February 4, 2005.August 8, 2005: McMurtry announced he will not close Booked Up, his bookstore in Archer City, Texas, as he had previously stated.A new business plan has been implemented that will allow the business to continue while McMurtry takes a sabbatical to travel. Source: New York Times,, August 8, 2005.September 12, 2005: McMurtry wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain, which was based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx. The film wasdirected by Ang Lee and released by Focus Features. Source: Internet Movie Database,, September 12, 2005January 16, 2006: McMurtry won a Golden Globe Award for best screenplay for his adaptation of E. Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain. Source: CNN,, January 18, 2006.February 19, 2006: McMurtry won the award for best adapted screenplayat the 2006 BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards for Brokeback Mountain. Source: British Academy of Film and Television Arts,, February 21, 2006.March 5, 2006: McMurtry won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. Source: OSCAR.COM,, March 6, 2006.June 6, 2006: McMurtry's novel Telegraph Days was published bySimon & Schuster. Source: Amazon,, June 7, 2006.

Further Reference


  • The novel Horseman, Pass By was adapted for the screen by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank and released as Hud, Paramount, 1963; the film Hud was edited into a filmstrip titled Hud-Clash of Generations, Films, Inc, 1976. The novel Leaving Cheyenne was adapted for the screen by Stephen Friedman and released as Lovin' Molly, Columbia, 1974. The novel Terms of Endearment was adapted for the screen by James L.Brooks and released by Paramount, 1983. The television movie The Murder of Mary Phagan (also known as The Ballad of Mary Phagan), was adapted by Jeffrey Lane and George Stevens, Jr., from a story by McMurtry, and broadcast by NBC, 1988. The novel Lonesome Dove was adapted for television and broadcast by CBS, 1989. The characters from the novel Lonesome Dove were adapted for television for Return to Lonesome Dove, CBS, 1993, and Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years, syndicated, 1994. The novel Buffalo Girls was adapted for television and broadcast by CBS, 1995. Thenovel The Evening Star was adapted for the screen and released by Buena Vista, 1996.
    • Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volume 19, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1987.
    • Entertainment Weekly, May 10, 1996, p. 59.
    • Texas Monthly, February 10, 1993, pp. 202-207; December, 1997, pp.110-117.*

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