Texas Monthly writer Gary Cartwright dies at 82

Gary Cartwright in July 1999.
Gary Cartwright in July 1999. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Gary Cartwright, the Texas Monthly writer known for his colorful life and lively writing, died in Austin at 82 after a fall, according to reports.

Cartwright, a graduate of Arlington High School, attended what is now the University of Texas at Arlington and worked in 1956-57 as a night police reporter at the Star-Telegram, then as a sportswriter at the Fort Worth Press and Dallas newspapers. He fell in his Austin home on Valentine’s Day, his granddaughter told The Dallas Morning News.

She said he was on the floor for four days before a neighbor found him. He died at Seton Medical Center Austin about 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Cartwright retired from Texas Monthly in 2010 “after a 40-year career writing stories about strippers, preachers, drug dealers and everyone in Texas life and lowlife,” Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy wrote in a column marking the writer’s magazine retirement.

“He wrote about a Dallas nightclub owner named Jack Ruby, and a nude dancer named Candy Barr, and in perhaps his most remembered work, about the murder trials of millionaire T. Cullen Davis.”

Cartwright may be best-known in Fort Worth for his 1979 book “Blood Will Tell,” about the Davis case, which became the TV movie “Texas Justice.”

He finished his career at the magazine with 183 bylines, billed as “The Best Magazine Writer Who Ever Lived.”

This story contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.