Jadin Bell (1997 – 2013) was a gay teen who was “intensely bullied” both in person and on the internet because he was gay. He was a member of the La Grande High School cheerleading team in La Grande, Oregon. On January 19, 2013, Bell went to a local elementary school and hanged himself on the jungle-gym. He did not die from the strangulation and he was rushed to a hospital in Portland. After being taken off life support, Bell died two weeks later.
Bell’s death was widely reported in the media. Bell’s father, Joe Bell stated:
“He was hurting so bad. Just the bullying at school. Yeah there were other issues, but ultimately it was all due to the bullying, for not being accepted for being gay.”
After Bell’s death, his father planned a cross-country tribute in honor of his son. He planned to walk across the entire continental United States within two years, spreading awareness about bullying and the effects that it can have. Bell resigned from his position at Boise Cascade and helped launch Faces for Change, a non-profit anti-bullying foundation, to speak in high schools across the U.S. He stated:
“Not doing anything is not acceptable. Those who watch and do nothing are just as guilty. They are saying that it is acceptable.”
Joe Bell began his walk in April 2013 and was killed halfway through his journey after he was hit by a semi in Colorado on October 6, 2013. The driver of the truck was charged with reckless driving and may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
This sad story was adapted to the film Good Joe Bell (2020). directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, starring Mark Wahlberg and Connie Britton. The screenplay is by Larry McMurtry (1936 – 2021); it was his final work.
McMurtry, along with cowriter Diana Ossana wrote the screenplay for the gay classic, Brokeback Mountain (2005), adapted from a 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx. The film received eight Academy Award nominations with three wins, including for McMurtry, plus a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay.
McMurtry was a writer whose work was mostly set in either the Old West or modern-day Texas. Films adapted from McMurtry’s works earned 34 Oscar nominations (13 wins). He and Ossana collaborated on more than 40 screenplays.
The Last Picture Show (1966), his third novel, is a coming-of-age story set in a small Texas town. He and director Peter Bogdanovich were nominated for an Academy Award for their script for the film version. The film stars Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Ellen Burstyn, Ben Johnson, the late, great Cloris Leachman, and Cybill Shepherd. The Last Picture Show was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Johnson and Bridges for Best Supporting Actor, and Burstyn and Leachman for Best Supporting Actress, with Johnson and Leachman winning.
The film adaptation of his novel Terms Of Endearment (1975) was released in 1983, was written and directed by James L. Brooks and received Oscars for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, with the little gold statues going to its stars Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson.
Horseman, Pass By (1961), his first novel, was published when he was 25 years old. It inspired the film Hud (1963), starring Paul Newman and Patricia Neal.
His Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Lonesome Dove (1985), was adapted into a television miniseries that received 18 Emmy Award nominations with seven wins). The next three novels in his Lonesome Dove series were also adapted as miniseries.
McMurtry shook off that mortal coil on March 25, 2021, at his home in Archer City, Texas. He was 84 years old.