Witt and Wisdom

BILL WITTLIFF IS A RENAISSANCE hombre. An author, a publisher, a film producer, and an arts patron, the longtime Austinite is best known for his screenplays, including The Black Stallion, Raggedy Man, Legends of the Fall, and Lonesome Dove; his adaptation of the latter revived both the miniseries and the Hollywood western. During its filming ten years ago, Wittliff wore yet another hat: that of volunteer photographer. Over the 89 days of the shoot, he took some five thousand pictures of stars and extras, saloons and stampedes (see “ Dove Shoot,” page 106). Afterward he presented framed photos as mementos to stars Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones and other friends. “Then a friend of a friend wanted two,” he says. “That started a steady flow of requests.” He has since sold hundreds. Hand-printed and sepia-toned, the pictures start at $450 and are available through four galleries: Stephen L. Clark in Austin, John Cleary in Houston, James H. Evans in Marathon, and Andrew Smith in Santa Fe. “Everything to do with Lonesome Dove was quality,” the 58-year-old observes. “I don’t mean to sound self-effacing, but when people buy these photographs, I think what they’re really buying are memories of something that gave them pleasure and made them feel good.”

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