|Larry McMurtry posed for Dallas Morning News photographer David Woo in 2012 as he disposed of two-thirds his collection of half a million books, which filled several store buildings in his hometown of Archer City, Texas.|
"McMurtry shaped Texas’ view of itself far more than any contemporary writer," writes Michael Granberry. "None achieved his level of critical acclaim or rivaled his Hollywood success, as he simultaneously shattered and celebrated the mythology of his native state."
Lonesome Dove, which Granberry calls "an elegiac study of the Old West," won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He wrote 45 other books, including The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and Brokeback Mountain, novels that became Oscar-winning movies. He shared an Oscar for adapted screenplay for Brokeback. with Diana Ossana, his partner in writing and much of his life.
“Larry is someone who took on the stereotypes and busted them. He was willing to say that the cowboy myth was just that,” his friend, retired University of North Texas writer-in-residence George Getschow, told the Morning News. “He wrote about things that disturbed and challenged convention in a way that was piercing, indelicate and right on.”
The New York Times' Dwight Garner notes, "For two years in the early 1990s he was American president of PEN, the august literary and human rights organization. He was a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, where he often wrote on topics relating to the American West. . . . There was a comic brio in his best books, alongside an ever-present melancholy. He was praised for his ability to create memorable and credible female characters. . . . McMurtry had reportedly completed a draft of a memoir titled 62 Women, about some of the women he knew and admired. He had an unusual arrangement in the last years of his life. In 2011 he married Norma Faye Kesey, Ken Kesey’s widow, and she moved in with Mr. McMurtry and Ms. Ossana. “I went up and drug Faye out of Oregon,” he told Grantland.com. “I think I had seen Faye a total of four times over 51 years, and I married her. We never had a date or a conversation. Ken would never let me have conversations with her.”" He also leaves a son, James, "a well-regarded singer and songwriter."