Wittliff’s death was announced on Monday morning by Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth. (Read Trauth’s email in a Facebook post below) In the email, Trauth writes “Bill was a gifted writer, filmmaker, photographer, artist, and visionary. He was an inspiration to all who knew him, but particularly to our students.”
Wittliff and his wife, Sally, founded The Wittliff Collections at Texas State in 1986, creating a research archive, library and exhibition gallery “focused entirely on the creative spirit of Texas and the Southwest,” Trauth said.
“Bill could usually be found in the corner of the room surrounded by students as he patiently answered questions about the creative process,” says Trauth. The University’s President also credited Wittliff with attracting people to Texas State from all over the world through the collection.
Wittliff donated his materials from Lonesome Dove, which won seven Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Peabody Award, to the archive at Texas State.
Words cannot describe the sorrow that we feel this morning. Bill was more than a founder, he was a leader and a mentor. He inspired us. He cared about us and we cared about him deeply. We were all lucky to have known and worked with him. Bill Wittliff (1940-2019) #TheWittliff pic.twitter.com/rVSjkRPFE8
— Wittliff Collections (@TheWittliff) June 10, 2019
In this 2017 video, Lonesome Dove producer Suzanne de Passe and Wittliff talk about the making of the miniseries:
Want to know more about this iconic Texan? Check out this article from the Austin American Statesman.