This footage captures scenes of an awards ceremony where journalist Dan Rather and actresses Agnes Moorehead and Lucretia Love are honored. Governor Preston Smith presents the awards, and politicians Ben Barnes, Lloyd Bentsen Jr., and other members of the Texas House of Representatives are also in attendance. Do you recognize any of the other people in this footage? Please let us know!
Richard S. "Cactus" Pryor was a comedic television and broadcast personality from Austin, Texas. Cactus, an Austin native, was born in 1923, straight into the entertainment business. His father owned the Cactus Theater on Congress Avenue (hence the nickname), and starting at just 3 years old, Cactus made stage appearances before the shows began. Cactus attended the University of Texas and served in the US Army Air Corp. When he returned to Austin from his service in 1944, Cactus joined the broadcasting team at Lady Bird Johnson's KLBJ radio station, where he worked until 2008. He joined the world of broadcast television at KTBC in 1951 where he was program manager and hosted a variety of television programs, including a football program with Darrell K Royal and many celebrity interviews. Cactus appeared in two films with his friend John Wayne, Hellfighters and The Green Berets. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, he became a sought-after speaker and event host, famous for his roasts of entertainers and politicians, most of whom he counted as close friends. Cactus was also known for his disguises. He would appear at functions in character, often pulling a fast one on the crowd as he charmed them first in disguise, then again as he revealed himself and used his earlier conversations to entertain the crowd. As an active member of the Headliners Club of Austin, Pryor starred in many humorous television news satires alongside Texas politicians, some of which can be seen in his film collection, as well as the Gordon Wilkison Collection and the Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection. He was nationally-known, but kept Austin his home, helping put the city on the map in the 60s and 70s. Cactus Pryor announced to his KLBJ listeners in 2007 that he had Alzheimer's disease, and Austin's "original funnyman" died in 2011.
Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. was born in Mission, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley on February 11, 1921. He attended the University of Texas School of Law, graduating in 1942. After graduation, Bentsen joined the United States Army Air Corps, serving in the 449th Bomb Group during World War II. Bentsen received several awards for his military service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. After the war, Bentsen returned to Texas to begin his political career, first as a Hidalgo County Judge. In 1948, Bentsen was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas's 15th District. He served three successive terms. Bentsen then took a break from politics to seek a business career in Houston, founding the Consolidated American Life Insurance Company and eventually becoming president of Lincoln Consolidated, a financial holding institution. Bentsen returned to politics in the 1970 race for United States Senate, defeating future President George H. W. Bush in the general election. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1976, 1982, and 1988. In 1988, Democratic Party nominee Michael Dukakis selected Bentsen as his running mate in that year's presidential election. Bush and Dan Quayle from the Republican Party ultimately won the election. Bentsen resigned from the Senate in 1993 to serve as the Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton until 1994. (Bentsen had previously served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.) The Clinton economic plan for which Bentsen was the primary architect ultimately reduced the federal deficit by $500 billion and led to the lowest inflation and unemployment rates in 30 years. In 1999, President Clinton awarded Bentsen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the highest civilian awards of the United States. Bentsen died on May 23, 2006 at his home in Houston at the age of 85.
Dan Rather is a journalist best known for anchoring the CBS Evening News. He has won several Emmys and Peabody Awards for his contributions to the field of journalism.
Rather was born Daniel Irvin Rather Jr. on October 31, 1931 in Wharton, Texas to Byrl Veda Page and Daniel Sr., a pipeline worker. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Houston, where Rather grew up. He attended Sam Houston State University, where he worked for the school newspaper and a local radio station, and he also reported for the Associated Press, United Press, and the Houston Chronicle. The mass communications building at Sam Houston State was renamed in his honor in 1994.
After earning a degree in journalism in 1953, Rather planned to join the U.S. Marine Corps, but because he had rheumatic fever as a child, he was discharged. In 1954, he began reading the morning news on KTRH, a Houston-based radio station. For the next few years, he worked his way up until he became a reporter for KTRK and then KHOU, both Houston television stations.
In 1961, Rather's thorough coverage of Hurricane Carla for KHOU earned him a promotion to CBS News correspondent. His reporting on President Kennedy's assassination led him to become a White House correspondent and a foreign correspondent in London and Vietnam. In the early 1970s, Rather reported on the CBS Sunday Night News, CBS Reports, and 60 Minutes. When Walter Cronkite retired in 1981, Rather took over as anchor of the CBS Evening News, where he remained for 24 years.
When he left CBS after 43 years, Rather began a weekly show called Dan Rather Reports. He also contributes to other programs, such as The Daily Show, and runs an independent company called News and Guts Media. He and his wife Jean Goebel have been married since 1957. They have two children, Robin and Dan, and have homes in New York City and Austin.