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Remembering Larry McMurtry (1936-2021)

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Larry McMurtry, Prints & Photographs Division, //


Over the weekend, award-winning author and screenwriter Larry McMurtry passed away at the age of 84. Mr. McMurtry holds an esteemed place at the Library of Congress with three of his works inducted into the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

His first novel, Horseman, Pass By, was published in 1961, and was turned into the 1963 film Hud, starring Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Brandon deWilde and Patricia Neal. The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three; Patricia Neal for Best Actress, Melvyn Douglas for Best Supporting Actor, and James Wong Howe for best Cinematography. Hud was inducted into National Film Registry in 2018.

His 1967 semi-autobiographical novel, The Last Picture Show, was made into the 1971 film by Peter Bogdanovich, and stars Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Ellen Burstyn, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, and Cybill Shepherd.  The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, with Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman winning the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards respectively. The Last Picture Show was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1998.

And, it was for the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain that Mr. McMurtry, and his long time writing partner Diane Ossana, won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best-adapted screenplay. Directed by Ang Lee and starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, the movie follows the emotional relationship between two cowboys as they begin a complicated sexual relationship spanning decades. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards and seven Golden Globe Awards. Brokeback Mountain was inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2015, its first year of eligibility.

Notably, McMurtry won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for Lonesome Dove, a historical saga about two Texas Rangers and a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. After winning the Pulitzer Prize, the book was turned into an epic four-part TV miniseries starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.

McMurtry’s novel Terms of Endearment was adapted into the 1983 Academy Award winning film of the same name starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow.

Each year, the Librarian of Congress selects 25 films for induction into the National Film Registry. Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian and National Film Preservation Board are considering their final selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

We invite you to nominate up to 50 films per year through our online nomination form.

For more information about the Library of Congress and the National Film Registry visit



  1. Very interesting piece. I love movies but i generally tune into old movies because i love black and white. I did see Hud and it was very deep (emotionally) and not shallow or hollow. They are so important, the movies, and it is our duty to form the professionals to continue this excellent legacy of American culture in the performing arts. This is like other cultural emblems needs preservation, continuation in order that we lift our self up from decadency and rot (i.e mass shootings, hatreds, wars, poverty) etc. thank you so much for this piece it is truly appreciated!!!!!!!

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