Bud” Shrake, Jr.

6 Sep 1931
8 May 2009
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Edwin A. “Bud” Shrake, Jr. (September 6, 1931 – May 8, 2009) was an American journalist, sportswriter, novelist, biographer and screenwriter. He co-wrote a series of golfing advice books with golf coach Harvey Penick, including Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, a golf guide that became the best-selling sports book in publishing history. Called a “lion of Texas letters” by the Austin American-Statesman,Shrake was a member of the Texas Film Hall of Fame, and received the Lon Tinkle lifetime achievement award from the Texas Institute of Letters[2] and the Texas Book Festival Bookend Award.

In 1964, Shrake moved to New York City, following Jenkins, to join the staff of Sports Illustrated, where editor André Laguerre considered him a “literary” sportswriter. Accordingly, Laguerre often allowed Shrake to write “bonus pieces”—long feature stories sometimes barely related to sports. Among the notable feature articles Shrake wrote for Sports Illustrated are “The Once Forbidding Land” (1965), a profile of life in the Texas Hill Country, and “The Tarahumaras: A Lonely Tribe of Long-Distance Runners” (1967), which he wrote after spending several weeks with the Tarahumaras in Northern Mexico.

Shrake’s screenplays include the thriller Nightwing (1979), Tom Horn (a Steve McQueen Western written in collaboration with Thomas McGuane; 1980), Kid Blue (an “acid Western” vehicle for Dennis Hopper; 1973) and Songwriter (1984), which starred Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Rip Torn. Shrake’s play “Pancho Villa’s Wedding Day” (1983) started as a movie project with Hopper that never found funding.Nelson, Kristofferson and Torn would be reunited in two made-for-TV movies written by Shrake and Cartwright, “Pair of Aces” (1990) and “Another Pair of Aces” (1991). Shrake played a bit role in the latter; he had appeared in a “small, but significant”role as “Sodbuster Two” in “Lonesome Dove”.

Shrake suffered from both prostate cancer and lung cancer in his final years.At a Southwestern Writers Collection event in 2008, Shrake urged friends to heed Johnny Mercer’s lyrics: “You’ve got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mister In-Between.” Despite his advanced lung cancer, Shrake made an appearance on April 8, 2009 at a special screening of Songwriter in Austin.He was roughly 100 pages into a new novel when he died.

Shrake died at St. David’s Hospital in Austin, of complications from lung cancer.The staff at the Austin Country Club lowered its club flag to half staff in recognition of Shrake’s death.At Shrake’s funeral, Ray Benson sang Willie Nelson’s “I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone” while Nelson sang “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” and Cartwright called Shrake “my friend, compadre and mentor for 50 years. Every success I enjoyed owed directly or indirectly to Bud Shrake.” At the graveside service, Jerry Jeff Walker played two songs: Charles John Quarto and Shake Russell’s “Dare of an Angel” and the Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn standard “My Buddy.”Shrake’s hearse bore the Mad Dog Productions sign in the back window.

Shrake is buried next to Ann Richards in the Texas State Cemetery



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