Hollywood: A Third Memoir

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Overview

"One thing I?ve always liked about Hollywood is its zip, or speed. The whole industry depends to some extent on talent spotting. The hundreds of agents, studio executives, and producers who roam the streets of the city of Los Angeles let very little in the way of talent slip by."

In this final installment of the memoir trilogy that includes Books and Literary Life, Larry McMurtry, "the master of the show-stopping anecdote" (O: The Oprah Magazine) turns his own keenly observing eye to his rollercoaster romance ...

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Overview

"One thing I’ve always liked about Hollywood is its zip, or speed. The whole industry depends to some extent on talent spotting. The hundreds of agents, studio executives, and producers who roam the streets of the city of Los Angeles let very little in the way of talent slip by."

In this final installment of the memoir trilogy that includes Books and Literary Life, Larry McMurtry, "the master of the show-stopping anecdote" (O: The Oprah Magazine) turns his own keenly observing eye to his rollercoaster romance with Hollywood. As both the creator of numerous works successfully adapted by others for film and television (Terms of Endearment, Lonesome Dove, and the Emmy-nominated The Murder of Mary Phagan) and the author of screenplays including The Last Picture Show (with Peter Bogdanovich), Streets of Laredo, and the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain (both with longtime writing partner Diana Ossana), McMurtry has seen all the triumphs and frustrations that Tinseltown has to offer a writer, and he recounts them in a voice unfettered by sentiment and yet tinged with his characteristic wry humor.

Beginning with his sudden entrée into the world of film as the author of Horseman, Pass By—adapted into the Paul Newman–starring Hud in 1963—McMurtry regales readers with anecdotes that find him holding hands with Cybill Shepherd, watching Jennifer Garner’s audition tape, and taking lunch at Chasen’s again and again. McMurtry fans and Hollywood hopefuls alike will find much to cherish in these pages, as McMurtry illuminates life behind the scenes in America’s dream factory.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Larry McMurtry is a bestselling novelist and memoirist, but to many people he is best known for the film adaptations of his fiction from the 1963 Hud (based on his Horseman, Pass By) to his own Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning screenplay of 2005's Brokeback Mountain (based on an E. Annie Proulx short story.) Between those classics are other movie adaptations including The Last Picture Show (1971), the Academy Award-winning Terms of Endearment (1984), and Lonesome Dove (1989), transformed into a television mini-series. In Hollywood, he describes a maverick Texan's insights about Tinseltown.
Publishers Weekly
Prolific novelist and screenwriter McMurtry shares his history with the movies via breezy anecdotes and insightful reflections on a writer's fluctuating currency in Hollywood. McMurtry muses on the elusive and capricious nature of the filmmaking industry with humor and compassion for some of the people who have inhabited it. With observations on the often predictable decline of movie stars, and recollections of his own projects, McMurtry is always the writer who loves what he does, despite setbacks, delays, or disappointments. He shares some of Tinsel Town's characters, less idiosyncratic today than they once were, and the many opportunities he was given to write for the movies; his endeavors, even those that never made it to the screen, served a purpose in the long, productive trajectory of his career. Unpretentious but wise, passionate but not precious about his craft (when he won an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain he skipped the parties in favor of "a decent cheeseburger" and bed), McMurtry shames his angst-ridden peers with a frank appreciation for the chance to be a part of the massive entertainment machine. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594234661
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 8/10/2010
  • Pages: 146
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

Biography

Back in the late 60s, the fact that Larry McMurtry was not a household name was really a thorn in the side of the writer. To illustrate his dissatisfaction with his status, he would go around wearing a T-shirt that read "Minor Regional Novelist." Well, more than thirty books, two Oscar-winning screenplays, and a Pulitzer Prize later, McMurtry is anything but a minor regional novelist.

Having worked on his father's Texas cattle ranch for a great deal of his early life, McMurtry had an inborn fascination with the West, both its fabled history and current state. However, he never saw himself as a life-long rancher and aspired to a more creative career. He achieved this at the age of 25 when he published his first novel. Horseman, Pass By was a wholly original take on the classic western. Humorous, heartbreaking, and utterly human, this story of a hedonistic cowboy in contemporary Texas was a huge hit for the young author and even spawned a major motion picture starring Paul Newman called Hud just two years after its 1961 publication. Extraordinarily, McMurtry was even allowed to write the script, a rare honor for such a novice.

With such an auspicious debut, it is hard to believe that McMurtry ever felt as though he'd been slighted by the public or marginalized as a minor talent. While all of his books may not have received equal attention, he did have a number of astounding successes early in his career. His third novel The Last Picture Show, a coming-of-age-in-the-southwest story, became a genuine classic, drawing comparisons to J. D. Salinger and James Jones. In 1971, Peter Bogdonovich's screen adaptation of the novel would score McMurtry his first Academy award for his screenplay. Three years later, he published Terms of Endearment, a critically lauded urban family drama that would become a hit movie starring Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine in 1985.

That year, McMurtry published what many believe to be his definitive novel. An expansive epic sweeping through all the legends and characters that inhabited the old west, Lonesome Dove was a masterpiece. All of the elements that made McMurtry's writing so distinguished -- his skillful dialogue, richly drawn characters, and uncanny ability to establish a fully-realized setting -- convened in this Pulitzer winning story of two retired Texas rangers who venture from Texas to Montana. The novel was a tremendous critical and commercial favorite, and became a popular miniseries in 1989.

Following the massive success of Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry's prolificacy grew. He would publish at least one book nearly every year for the next twenty years, including Texasville, a gut-wrenching yet hilarious sequel to The Last Picture Show, Buffalo Girls, a fictionalized account of the later days of Calamity Jane, and several non-fiction titles, such as Crazy Horse.

Interestingly, McMurtry would receive his greatest notoriety in his late 60s as the co-screenwriter of Ang Lee's controversial film Brokeback Mountain. The movie would score the writer another Oscar and become one of the most critically heralded films of 2005. The following year he published his latest novel. Telegraph Days is a freewheeling comedic run-through of western folklore and surely one of McMurtry's most inventive stories and enjoyable reads. Not bad for a "minor regional novelist."

Good To Know

A miniseries based on McMurtry's novel Comanche Moon is currently in production. McMurtry co-wrote the script.

The first-printing of McMurtry's novel In a Narrow Grave is one of his most obscure for a rather obscure reason. The book was withdrawn because the word "skyscrapers" was misspelled as "skycrappers" on page 105.

McMurtry comes from a long line of farmers and ranchers. His father and eight of his uncles were all in the profession.

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    1. Hometown:
      Archer City, Texas
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 3, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Wichita Falls, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A., North Texas State University, 1958; M.A., Rice University, 1960. Also studied at Stanford University.

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