Larry McMurtry (born June 3, 1936 in Wichita Falls, Texas) is an Academy Award winning screenwriter, American novelist and essayist.
McMurtry is probably best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove, which was adapted into a hit television miniseries. Much of his fiction is set in the "old west" or contemporary Texas.
He grew up on a ranch outside of Archer City, Texas. He earned degrees from North Texas State University (B.A. 1958) and Rice University (M.A. 1960). He published his first novels while an English instructor, and he won the 1962 Texas Institute of Letters Jesse M. Jones award. In 1964 he was awarded a Guggenheim grant.
In 1960, McMurtry was also a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Stanford University, where he studied the craft of fiction under novelist Wallace Stegner and alongside a number of other future literary luminaries, including Ken Kesey, Robert Stone, and Gordon Lish. McMurtry and Kesey maintained a close friendship after McMurtry left California and returned to Texas, and Kesey's famous cross-country trip with his Merry Pranksters in the day-glo painted schoolbus 'Furthur' included a memorable stop at McMurtry's home in Archer, described in Tom Wolfe's New-Journalistic masterpiece The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
A book collector, McMurtry purchased a rare book store in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood in 1970 and named it Booked Up. He moved to Washington D.C. to run the store. In 1988 he opened a second Booked Up in Archer City, establishing the town as an American "Book City".
A prolific, award-winning, and highly-respected literary writer, McMurtry is nevertheless well-known for the film adaptations of his work, especially Hud (from the novel Horseman, Pass By), starring Paul Newman; Peter Bogdanovich's masterpiece, The Last Picture Show; James L. Brooks's Terms of Endearment, which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1984); and Lonesome Dove, which became an enormously popular television mini-series starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall.
In 2006, he was co-winner (with Diana Ossana) of the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. While he accepted the award, he was wearing jeans and cowboy boots along with his dinner jacket (not an unusual choice for men's evening dress in Texas), which Academy Awards host Jon Stewart made fun of immediately.
His son, James McMurtry, is a singer/songwriter and guitarist.