She helped edit “Streets of Laredo” and then encouraged him to accept script offers. “Back then I got a lot of offers from the films. I was very popular but didn’t feel safe. I had really serious heart problems. I’ve got a lot of offers and I think she’s just sick of me turning them down, ”he said.
When the offer came in to write a script about Depression-era bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd, Ossana and McMurtry tackled it together and then wrote the novel “Pretty Boy Floyd.” After that, they worked on dozens of scripts.
He married Jo Ballard in 1959 and three years later the couple had a son, singer-songwriter James McMurtry. In 1966 they got divorced. In 2011 he married for the second time: with Norma Faye Kesey, the widow of long-time friend Ken Kesey, author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. They held their wedding ceremony in the Archer City bookstore.
The testimony of McMurtry’s family says that he died among loved ones, including Ossana; his wife; His son; his grandson Curtis; and his goddaughter Sara Ossana. He is also 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 at Austin, said in a 2014 interview with the AP that McMurtry was “primarily a storyteller.” “He’s a great creator of characters and dialogue. It’s one of the reasons he’s had so much success in Hollywood, ”said Graham.