Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright's Profile Photo

Gary Cartwright earned his BA in journalism at Texas Christian University. He had a distinguished career as a newspaper reporter and as a freelance writer, contributing stories to such national publications as Harper’s, Life, and Esquire. He was a senior editor at Texas Monthly for 25 years, until his retirement in 2010 at age 76. He died in 2017.

Cartwright was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 1986 in the reporting excellence category. He was the recipient of a Dobie-Paisano fellowship and won the Texas Institute of Letters Stanley Walker award for journalism and the Carr P. Collins Award for nonfiction. He won the 1989 Press Club of Dallas Katie Award for best magazine news story. He also received the 2005 Headliner Club of Austin award for best magazine story. Cartwright wrote several books, including Blood Will Tell, Confessions of a Washed-up Sportswriter, Dirty Dealing, Galveston: A History of the Island, and Heart Wiseguy, a memoir published in 1998. He cowrote three movie scripts, for J. W. Coop (Columbia, 1972); Pair of Aces (CBS TV, 1990), which he also coproduced; and Pancho, Billy and Esmerelda, which he coproduced for his own production company in 1994. He also coproduced Another Pair of Aces for CBS. Blood Will Tell was adapted by CBS TV as a four-hour miniseries in 1994.

200 Articles

January 20, 2013

And Still Champion

The first black man to hold boxing’s heavyweight title is finally getting the respect he deserves. Now all he’s owed is a presidential pardon.

January 20, 2013

Writing Life

The long, slow, quiet, thoughtful, weird, brilliant, often-interrupted, never-compromised career of John Graves, who died July 30, 2013.

Food & Drink|
January 20, 2013

Consider the Oyster

If you’re a half shell fanatic like me, you’ll be just as alarmed as I was to hear that oystermen in Galveston Bay—the source of some of the country’s most delicious mollusks —are still struggling to make it after Hurricane Ike.

Texas History|
January 20, 2013

You Aren’t Here

The very spot where William Barrett Travis wrote his famous “victory or death” letter is a Ripley’s Haunted Adventures. And other ways gross commercialization has desecrated the Alamo’s sacred battleground site.

January 20, 2013

The Devil and Mr. Jones

How about those Cowboys? Ever since the team's egotistical owner, Jerry Jones, fired coach Jimmy Johnson in a fit of pique, the 'Boys have never been on a slippery slope to perdition. But it's die-hard fans like me who are in hell.

Cartwright's Texas|
January 20, 2013


Blackie Sherrod probably hates the word "retired," but that's what he is now—and newspaper readers across Texas are the poorer for it.

January 20, 2013

Game Over

Sure, sure, the newspaper business is dying, and this is bad for freedom, accountability, and democracy itself. But worst of all is what’s happened to sportswriting.

Texas History|
January 20, 2013

Remains of the Day

The Texas State Cemetery, home to the final resting places of the celebrated and the notorious, is a walk through time, revealing all that is great, courageous, tragic, pompous, and absurd about Texas.

January 1, 2011

Rose to the Occasion

For longtime TCU fans, the Rose Bowl was a reminder of being snubbed in the school’s heyday. With the victory over Wisconsin, the Horned Frogs have shaken off the ghosts of the past—and taken their rightful place on the national stage.

October 31, 2009

Gone to New York

Bud Shrake’s letters to friends back in Texas during his years in New York show the late novelist in all his ribald, freewheeling glory. And never more alive.

The Culture|
September 30, 2009

Last Rights

The tragic case of Lloyd and Kim Yarbrough raises an old question: Why doesn’t the decision to die belong to the person who is dying?

The Culture|
March 31, 2009

Ghosts Of War

Happy Texas Independence Day! Read five stories about our state's history, including this piece about the battlegrounds of Texas, which tell an incredible story of struggle, sorrow, triumph, and terror.

December 1, 2006

Pasó por Aquí

José Cisneros, the legendary illustrator of the Spanish Southwest, is 96, almost blind, and nearly deaf. And, of course, he has no plans to put down his pen.

Love Story|
August 31, 2006

Main Squeeze Blues

Saying good-bye to my dear Phyllis was the hardest thing I’ve ever done—and losing her so suddenly didn’t make it any easier. But I know I’ll see her again someday.

April 30, 2006

The Rookie

Having suffered through the ineptitudes of the Texas Rangers for nearly three and a half decades, having sat as solemn witness to their stumbling pretenses to be major league material, I assume that the hiring of a 28-year-old to run the team is yet another mistake. Jon Daniels, prove me

Gary Cartwright|
April 1, 2006

The Beat Goes On

Coronary artery disease is an old and much-hated enemy of mine. The beast attacked me without warning in 1988 as I strolled with my Airedales along Austin’s Shoal Creek hike-and-bike trail. Last November—sacre bleu!—it got me again.

February 1, 2006

Perfect 10

The reviews of the Vince Young show are in—and, of course, they’re all raves. Gary Cartwright and Bud Shrake argue that the Texas quarterback is the best ever but wonder if his throwing motion is an obstacle to NFL greatness. Plus: Mack vs. “Delbert.”

December 1, 2005

The Lost City

A few of the streets near what used to be downtown have familiar names, but Arlington has mutated into a disconnected clump of shopping malls, cul-de-sacs, and gated communities, faceless, soulless neighborhoods that give urban sprawl a bad name.

Gary Cartwright|
November 1, 2005

State of Dysfunction

Three Austin boys + the hatred and intolerance of their Boys State experience = a lesson in today’s democracy.

April 30, 2005

Old-timers’ Day

Duking it out, after more than fifty years of friendship, over Ann Coulter, Terri Schiavo, the appeal of golf, and, inevitably, the decline of the Cowboys.

Gary Cartwright|
April 30, 2005

Me and Him

Once upon a time I thought it was cool to question God’s existence. Not anymore.

March 1, 2005

Dan Rather Retorting

“My hope has always been, for all my flaws and weaknesses, that people will say this: ‘He wanted to be a reporter and he is.’ I think they know that I love this country.” And other reflections on retirement from the broadcast-news icon turned right-wing punching bag.

Criminal Justice|
June 30, 2004

Greg Ott, Free

Greg Ott, the philosophy graduate student who was convicted of killing a Texas Ranger in 1978, has finally been released and is getting on with his life.

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