Larry Jeff McMurtry (born June 3, 1936) is an American novelist, essayist, bookseller and screenwriter whose work is predominantly set in either the old West or in contemporary Texas. His novels include Horseman, Pass By (1962), The Last Picture Show (1966) and Terms of Endearment (1975), which were adapted into films earning 26 Academy Award nominations (10 wins). His 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove was adapted into a television miniseries that earned 18 Emmy Award nominations (seven wins), with the other three novels in his Lonesome Dove series adapted into three more miniseries earning eight more Emmy nominations. McMurtry and co-writer Diana Ossana adapted the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain (2005), which earned eight Academy Award nominations with three wins, including McMurty and Ossana for Best Adapted Screenplay.
McMurtry has won the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters on three occasions; in 1962, for Horseman, Pass By; in 1967, for The Last Picture Show, which he shared with Tom Pendleton's The Iron Orchard; and in 1986, for Lonesome Dove. He has also won the Amon G. Carter award for periodical prose in 1966, for Texas: Good Times Gone or Here Again?.
In 1960, McMurtry was also a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he studied the craft of fiction under novelist Wallace Stegner and alongside a number of other writers, including Ken Kesey, Peter S. Beagle, Robert Stone, and Gordon Lish. McMurtry and Kesey remained friends after McMurtry left California and returned to Texas, and Kesey's famous cross-country trip with his Merry Pranksters in a day-glo painted school bus 'Further' included a stop at McMurtry's home in Houston, described in Tom Wolfe's New-Journalistic book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. At the time (1964), McMurtry was also a Lecturer in English at Rice University. His students were entertained with stories of Hollywood and the filming of Hud for which he was consulting.
In 1964 he was awarded a Guggenheim grant.
McMurtry described his method for writing novels in Books: A Memoir. McMurtry says that from his first novel on he would get up early and dash off five pages of narrative. At the time of publication of the memoir in 2008, he stated that it was still his method, although by then he was up to dashing off ten pages a day. He also writes ever day ignoring holidays and weekends.
He is perhaps best known for the film adaptations of his work, especially Hud (from the novel Horseman, Pass By), starring Paul Newman and Patricia Neal; the Peter Bogdanovich–directed 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 a popular television mini-series starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall.
In 2006, he was co-winner (with Diana Ossana) of both the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. He accepted his Oscar wearing jeans andcowboy boots along with his dinner jacket and used his speech to promote books by reminding his audience that "Brokeback Mountain" was a short story by E. Annie Proulx before it was a movie. In his Golden Globe acceptance speech, he paid tribute to his Swiss-made Hermes 3000 typewriter.