Adler, Larry (Lawrence Cecil Adler), 1914-2001, American harmonica player, b. Baltimore. Adler, whose career spanned seven decades, is generally credited with elevating the harmonica to concert status in the classical music world. As a child he studied piano and was briefly enrolled at Baltimore's Peabody School of Music, but he was self-taught on the harmonica, and did not learn to read music until 1941. Beginning in 1934, he performed for film soundtracks, and he also appeared in concert. From 1939, Adler was a harmonica soloist with many of the world's major symphony orchestras and was particularly noted for his interpretations of Darius Milhaud and Ralph Vaughan Williams. In 1941 he formed an association with tap dancer Paul Draper, with whom he performed for many years. During the 1950s the two were blacklisted for alleged Communist affiliations, charges that Adler denied. Adler left the United States for London in 1952 and spent most of the remainder of his life there. His books include How I Play (1937) and Larry Adler's Own Arrangements (1960).

See his autobiography, It Ain't Necessarily So (1984).

Rivers, Larry, 1923-2002, American artist, b. New York City as Yitzroch Loisa Grossberg. Originally a jazz saxophonist, he turned to art in the 1940s. Reacting against abstract expressionism, Rivers turned to the figure, as in his 1954 series of nude studies, including Double Portrait of Birdie. An excellent draftsman, a multimedia experimenter, and a cultural provocateur, he was among the first to use popular images in his paintings and was thus a forerunner of the pop art movement. Rivers reached the height of his powers in the mid-1960s and continued to paint in a figurative style, often incorporating into his work stenciled lettering, photographs, and other elements. His themes range from eroticism to social concern, and his canvases are painted in a lively and seemingly spontaneous manner, usually with a cleverly ironic edge.

See his autobiography (1992); study by S. Hunter (1969).

McMurtry, Larry, 1936-, American novelist, b. Wichita Falls, Tex., grad. North Texas State Univ. (B.A., 1958), Rice Univ. (M.A., 1960). The West, particularly the more desolate sections of Texas, forms the major setting of his books, and his themes frequently concern the disparity between the romantic, mythical Old West and the often grim real West, both old and new. Set on a Texas ranch, his first novel, Horseman, Pass By (1961, filmed as Hud, 1963), contrasts frontier values with modern mores. It has been followed by more than two dozen novels and numerous other books. Another notable early novel is The Last Picture Show (1966, film 1971, Academy Award for screenplay), which explores adolescent rites of passage in a small, isolated Texas town in the 1950s; its characters and setting were revisited in Texasville (1987, film 1990), Duane's Depressed (1999), and When the Light Goes (2007).

Lonesome Dove (1985, Pulitzer Prize), which centers on a late 19th-century cattle drive, was followed by a sequel, Streets of Laredo (1993), and a prequel, Dead Man's Walk (1995); each was made into a TV miniseries. His other novels include Leaving Cheyenne (1963, filmed as Lovin' Molly, 1974), Terms of Endearment (1975, film 1983), Anything for Billy (1988), Comanche Moon (1997), The Berrybender Narratives (2002-2003), and Loop Group (2004). McMurtry has written a number of screen- and teleplays based on his novels, and he and Diana Ossana won an Academy Award for adapting E. Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain (2005). He also has penned short stories, essays, a biography of Crazy Horse (1999), and Books (2008), an account of his many years as a bookstore proprietor.

See his memoir (1999); studies by T. Landess (1969), R. L. Neinstein (1976), C. D. Peavy (1977), C. Reynolds, ed. (1989), M. Busby (1995), and J. M. Reilly (2000).

Larry's Party is a 1997 novel by Carol Shields.

The novel examined the life of Larry Weller, an "ordinary man made extraordinary" by his unique talent for creating labyrinths. Like its predecessor, The Stone Diaries, Shields' profound insights into human nature transform Larry from an ordinary, average man into a figure of universal humanity.

The novel won the 1997 Orange Prize for Fiction and the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2001, it was adapted into a musical by Richard Ouzonian and Marek Norman, which starred Brent Carver as Larry. It had its premiere at CanStage in Toronto, Ontario.

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