Larry McMurtry, Oscar-Winning Brokeback Mountain Screenwriter and Author, Dies of Heart Failure at 84
Novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry died Thursday of heart failure, PEOPLE confirms. He was 84.
McMurtry, who co-wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Brokeback Mountain, was surrounded by his loved ones — including his wife Norma Faye and his longtime writing partner Diana Ossana — when he died, his publicist told PEOPLE in a statement.
He will be buried "in his cherished home state of Texas," according to the statement.
McMurtry's career spanned more than 50 years.
He wrote more than 30 novels, including Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment and The Evening Star.
Many of his novels were set in the Old West or contemporary small-town Texas as he offered raw depictions of a region of America that he felt was often romanticized.
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In 1986 he won a Pulitzer Prize for Lonesome Dove, an 843-page tale set in the 1870s, following several retired Texas Rangers as they drive a cattle herd across the Great Plains.
"Lonesome Dove was an effort to kind of demythologize the myth of the Old West," McMurtry told The Associated Press in a 2014 interview, adding, "They're going to twist it into something romantic no matter what you do."
The story was adapted into a miniseries starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall in 1989. It went on to be nominated for 19 Emmys, winning seven.
McMurtry also wrote numerous screenplays over his career.
He was first nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 1972 for the coming-of-age drama, The Last Picture Show, which was adapted from his novel of the same name.
In 2006, he won the golden statuette with Ossana for Brokeback Mountain, based on the short story by Annie Proulx.
He was also the owner of a bookstore called Booked Up, which he opened in Washington D.C. in 1971.
Over 22 years, the store expanded to locations in Houston, Dallas and Tucson, according to his website. Eventually, he consolidated the business into one main building in his hometown of Archer City, Texas.
The bookstore is one of America's largest, according to The New York Times. At one point, the collection contained nearly 400,000 volumes across six buildings. He later sold off two-thirds of those books so that the remainder could fit into his Archer City location.
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"Few books are rare; we have handled only a handful in 44 years in the trade," he wrote in a statement on his website. "But many books are attractive. Customers come to us from wherever the four winds blow."
McMurtry's personal collection of books totaled around 30,000, spread across three houses, the NYT reports. He called compiling the collection, "an achievement equal to if not better than my writings themselves."
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