Larry McMurtry dead at 84: Oscar-winning screenwriter who won for Brokeback Mountain has passed away

Academy Award-winning screenwriter and novelist Larry McMurtry passed away on Thursday at the age of 84.

The news was confirmed by the McMurtry family spokesperson, Amanda Lundberg, in an obituary published by the New York Times.

Neither the cause or location of the writer’s death were made public.

Rest in peace: Larry McMurtry passed away on Thursday at the age of 84; he is pictured in 2013

Rest in peace: Larry McMurtry passed away on Thursday at the age of 84; he is pictured in 2013

Rest in peace: Larry McMurtry passed away on Thursday at the age of 84; he is pictured in 2013

The media figure is survived by his son James and grandson Curtis, as well as his wife Norma Faye, whom he married on 2011.

McMurtry was born on June 3, 1936 and was raised on a ranch just outside of his birthplace of Archer City, Texas.

In his first memoir, which was released in 2008, he recalled that although his childhood home had no books, his family would gather every night and tell stories.

He went on to study creative writing at Stanford University, where he met other aspiring writers such as Gurney Norman and Ken Kesey.

After leaving California, McMurtry served as an English lecturer at Rice University in his home state of Texas for several years; he had previously received a master’s degree from the institution.

Big achievement: McMurtry was known for his work on the screenplay for the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, which he collaborated on with Diana Ossana; the writing pair are pictured in 2006

Big achievement: McMurtry was known for his work on the screenplay for the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, which he collaborated on with Diana Ossana; the writing pair are pictured in 2006

Big achievement: McMurtry was known for his work on the screenplay for the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, which he collaborated on with Diana Ossana; the writing pair are pictured in 2006

In 1964, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his efforts in fiction and went on to win several awards for his published works. 

Two years later, his 1961 novel Horseman, Pass By was adapted into a Paul Newman-starring film entitled Hud, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three.

After the success of the western drama, McMurtry’s works were quickly noticed by many producers who sought to adapt his works for both film and television.

In 1971, Peter Bogdanovich released an adaptation of his semi-autobiographical novel The Last Picture Show, which had been published five years earlier and sold over nine million copies.

The writer and the filmmaker collaborated on the film’s script and were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for their work.

Devoted to the craft: McMurtry was known as a prolific novelist and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1964 for his work

Devoted to the craft: McMurtry was known as a prolific novelist and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1964 for his work

Devoted to the craft: McMurtry was known as a prolific novelist and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1964 for his work

The Last Picture Show was also nominated for Best Picture, although it lost to The French Connection.

In 1983, James L. Brooks adapted McMurtry’s 1975 novel Terms of Endearment into a film, the cast of which included Jack Nicholson and Debra Winger.

The family comedy-drama won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Several other of the writer’s works were turned into films, such as Texasville, The Evening Star and Lovin’ Molly, which was based on his 1962 novel Leaving Cheyenne.  

Poignant story: McMurtry and Ossana adapted Brokeback Mountain from the 1997 short story of the same name; Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are seen performing in the 2005 film

Poignant story: McMurtry and Ossana adapted Brokeback Mountain from the 1997 short story of the same name; Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are seen performing in the 2005 film

Poignant story: McMurtry and Ossana adapted Brokeback Mountain from the 1997 short story of the same name; Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are seen performing in the 2005 film

The author was also known for his work on the script for the 2005 romantic drama film Brokeback Mountain, which was directed by Ang Lee. 

The feature was adapted from Annie Proulx’s short story of the same name, which was published in The New Yorker in October of 1997.

For his efforts on the movie’s screenplay which he co-wrote with Diana Ossana, McMurtry was awarded the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The pair also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay for their work. 

Doubling up: In addition to their Oscar, McMurtry and Ossana won a Golden Globe Award for their work on Brokeback Mountain; the two are pictured in 2006

Doubling up: In addition to their Oscar, McMurtry and Ossana won a Golden Globe Award for their work on Brokeback Mountain; the two are pictured in 2006

Doubling up: In addition to their Oscar, McMurtry and Ossana won a Golden Globe Award for their work on Brokeback Mountain; the two are pictured in 2006

The writer also worked as a bookseller, and maintained a bookstore called Booked Up in his hometown of Archer City.

McMurtry’s final project as a screenwriter came with the 2020 film Good Joe Bell; this also marked the second time that he had worked with Ossana.

The feature had its premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival and received mixed reviews from critics. 

In 2014, McMurtry was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his contributions to the American canon of literature. 

Serious achievement: In 2014, McMurtry was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his work as a writer; he is seen receiving the medal from then-President Barack Obama

Serious achievement: In 2014, McMurtry was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his work as a writer; he is seen receiving the medal from then-President Barack Obama

Serious achievement: In 2014, McMurtry was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his work as a writer; he is seen receiving the medal from then-President Barack Obama

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