Speed Reads

R.I.P.

Larry McMurtry, award-winning Lonesome Dove and Brokeback Mountain writer, dies at 84

Award-winning novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry has died at 84.

The author's death was confirmed on Friday to The New York Times by a spokesperson for his family, although a cause of death was not specified.

McMurtry was a prolific author who wrote Lonesome Dove, the 1985 novel that won him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and spawned a television miniseries, as well as novels such as The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment, both of which spawned movie adaptations. McMurtry wrote over 30 screenplays as well, winning the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006 with his co-writer Diana Ossana. Former President Barack Obama awarded him a National Humanities Medal in 2015.

"He wrote about the Texas he knew from his own life, and then the old West as he heard it through the stories of his grandfather's — on his grandfather's porch," Obama said at the time. "And in Lonesome Dove, the story of two ex-Texas Rangers in the 19th century, readers found out something essential about their own souls, even if they'd never been out West or been on a ranch."

Through his work, McMurty "demythologized the American West with his unromantic depictions of life on the 19th-century frontier and in contemporary small-town Texas," the Times also wrote.

Stephen King on Friday remembered McMurtry as a "great storyteller," adding that he both "learned from" and "was entertained by" him, while Terms of Endearment director James L. Brooks praised him as "among the best writers ever."