Charles Portis, the author whose 1968 novel “True Grit” inspired two beloved big-screen Westerns, died Monday at the age of 86.
The Arkansas native had struggled with failing health for several years, according to his brother, Jonathan, who confirmed the death to the Arkansas Times.
Portis was born in 1933 in El Dorado, Arkansas, to Samuel Palmer Portis and Alice Waddell Portis. He served in the Marines during the Korean War before going on to study journalism at the University of Arkansas.
He was a newspaper reporter before going on to write fiction, having written for Fayetteville’s Northwest Arkansas Times, Memphis’ Commercial Appeal, the Arkansas Gazette, and Newsweek. He went on to become the London bureau chief of the New York Herald-Tribune, according to an obituary his family prepared for the Ruebel Funeral Home which was obtained by to the Arkansas Times.
His 1968 novel “True Grit” was his biggest success. It inspired a 1969 John Wayne film, and later the 2010 film starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Steinfeld. It follows the story of a young farm girl who hires a drunken lawman to catch the outlaw who murdered her father. They go on a quest along with a Texas Ranger to track down the villain, and on that adventure, the strength of their “grit” is tested.
Portis’ other work includes comic fiction like “Norwood,” “The Dog of the South,” “Masters of Atlantis,” and “Gringos,” as well as a collection of his shorter works called “Escape Velocity.”
Read original story Charles Portis, ‘True Grit’ Novelist, Dies at 86 At TheWrap