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Happy Fortieth Anniversary, “Terms of Endearment!”

Forty years ago today, writer James L. Brooks made one of the most impressive directorial debuts in film history when he brought Larry McMurtry‘s novel “Terms of Endearment” to the screen. Although he had forged a successful career in television, creating classic sitcoms like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Taxi” and writing the fine Burt Reynolds-Jill Clayburgh romance “Starting Over,” nothing on Brooks’ résumé prepared audiences for the delicate tonal balance of “Terms,” a comedy about the relationship between a mother (Shirley MacLaine) and daughter (Debra Winger) that culminates in the daughter being diagnosed with a terminal illness.