"Novelist, essayist, and screenwriter Larry McMurtry was born June 3, 1936 in Wichita Falls, Texas. He grew up on a ranch just outside of Archer City, graduating from Archer City High School in 1954. He attended North Texas State University (B.A. 1958), then Rice University (1954, 1958-60, M.A. 1960), and studied for one semester outside of Texas, at Stanford University, as a Stegner Fellow, (1960-61). McMurtry published his first novels while working as an English instructor at Texas Christian University (1961-62), Rice University (1963-65), George Mason College (1970), and American University, (1970-71). In 1962, he won the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse M. Jones award, and in 1964, he won a Guggenheim grant. In 1970, he bought a rare-book store in Washington D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood, named it Booked Up, and relocated to run the store. A second Booked Up was opened in Archer City, Texas, in 1988.
His first seven novels were all set in Texas, some in the country, some in urban settings. The first three were made into movies. Despite the critical and popular success of ""Hud"" (Horseman Pass By) and The Last Picture Show, for which McMurtry wrote the Academy award winning screenplay (1972), McMurtry perceived a lack of appropriate recognition for his work in general. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he wore a t-shirt that read ""Minor Regional Novelist"", to help make this point.
McMurtry's urban trilogy, set in contemporary Houston, Moving On (1970), All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers (1972), and Terms of Endearment (1975), all deal with love and marriage, and are examples of McMurtry's ability to consistently create a strong sense of place, characters, and dialogue. Terms of Endearment would later be translated into Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish, and made into a very popular movie by the same name (1983), starring Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine, John Hurt, and Debra Winger.
Following this trilogy, McMurtry looked outside of Texas for settings: Somebody's Darling (1978) set in Hollywood, CA; Cadillac Jack (1982) set in DC, and The Desert Rose (1983) set in Las Vegas. These novels involve characters seeking meaning in urban life, and were not as critically or commercially successful as McMurtry's novels set in Texas.
In 1985, McMurtry published Lonesome Dove, the story of two ex-Texas Rangers who take on a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. This novel won McMurtry a Pulitzer Prize, as well as widespread critical and commercial success. The novel was brought to the small screen in 1989, in a very popular television mini-series of the same name, making McMurtry even more of a household name.
Since writing Lonesome Dove, McMurtry has continued to write novels set in both contemporary and historical Texas, with characters grappling with old and new lifestyles and values. These novels have been commercially successful, although not to same degree as Lonesome Dove. McMurtry announced that he will retire from novel writing with the 1999 novel, Duane's Depressed, however he has remained active as a writer, publishing a biography on Crazy Horse and an autobiographical reminiscence, Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, in the same year.
Author biography courtesy of Southwest Texas State University's Albert B. Alkek Library. "