'Lonesome Dove' author and Oscar-winning screenwriter Larry McMurtry dies aged 84

Several of his books were made into films, including 'The Last Picture Show' and 'Terms of Endearment'

US author and Pulitzer laureate Larry McMurtry holds his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for 'Brokeback Mountain' in 2006. EPA
US author and Pulitzer laureate Larry McMurtry holds his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for 'Brokeback Mountain' in 2006. EPA

Larry McMurtry, author of the best-selling Lonesome Dove novels set in the Old West and an Oscar-winning screenwriter for Brokeback Mountain, has died aged 84.

"Larry McMurtry passed away last night, on March 25, of heart failure," his agent Amanda Lundberg said on Friday.

McMurtry died in Texas, where he lived most of his life and which provided the setting for many of his books and screenplays.

Besides his popular Western novels, McMurtry racked up an impressive array of film credits during his career.

McMurtry and co-writer Diana Ossana won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain, based on a short story by Annie Proulx.

Several of his books were made into films including The Last Picture Show, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, and Terms of Endearment, which won the 1983 Oscar for Best Picture and featured Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger.

His first novel, Horseman, Pass By, was brought to the big screen under the name Hud and starred Paul Newman.

McMurtry's most popular work was 1985's Lonesome Dove, the story of two Texas Rangers, Augustus "Gus" McCrae and Woodrow F Call, set in the 1870s.

epa09099678 (FILE) - US President Barack Obama (L) presents a 2014 National Humanities Medal to Larry McMurtry (R), for his books, essays, and screenplays in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 September 2015 (reissued 26 March 2021). According to his represantative, Larry McMurtry has died aged 84 on 25 March 2021. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO
Former US president Barack Obama presents a National Humanities Medal to Larry McMurtry in 2014. EPA

It spawned both a prequel and sequels and was made into a television series starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.

McMurtry lived in Archer City, Texas, where he owned Booked Up, one of the largest independent bookstores in the US.

He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by president Barack Obama in 2015.

Lundberg said McMurtry died "surrounded by his loved ones" including Ossana, his long-time collaborator, and his wife, Norma Faye, the widow of Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

His son, acclaimed folk singer James McMurtry, was also at his bedside, she said.

Updated: March 28, 2021 11:58 AM

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