She helped edit “Streets of Laredo” and then began encouraging him to accept screenwriting offers. “I was getting lots of offers then from the movies. I was very popular, but I didn’t feel confident. I’d had real serious heart problems. I got a lot of offers and I think that she just got tired of me turning them down,” he said.
When the offer came in for a script on the Depression-era bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd, Ossana and McMurtry tackled it together and then wrote the novel “Pretty Boy Floyd.” After that they collaborated on dozens of screenplays.
He married Jo Ballard in 1959 and three years later, the couple had a son, singer-songwriter James McMurtry. In 1966, they divorced. In 2011, he got married for a second time: to Norma Faye Kesey, the widow of longtime friend Ken Kesey, author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” They held their marriage ceremony in the Archer City bookstore.
The statement from McMurtry’s family said that he died surrounded by loved ones, including Ossana; his wife; his son; his grandson, Curtis; and his goddaughter, Sara Ossana. He also is survived by his sisters, Sue and Judy, and a brother, Charlie
Don Graham, a professor of English and American literature at the University of Texas in Austin, said in a 2014 interview with the AP that McMurtry is “pre-eminently a storyteller.” “He’s a great creator of characters and dialogue. That’s one of the reasons he’s had so much success in Hollywood,” Graham said.