Presented by the Wharton County Historical Commission and Wharton County Junior College, this installment of the Wharton County Oral History Series reminisces about the old days in Wharton. Writer Horton Foote interviews Maner Stafford about his family and childhood.
Playwright and screenwriter Albert Horton Foote Jr., better known as Horton Foote, was born in Wharton, Texas, on March 14, 1916. Foote started his career as an actor, studying at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. He moved to writing in the 1940s, becoming one of the chief writers for television by the 1950s as well as a leading playwright by the 1960s. In 1995, Foote won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play "The Young Man From Atlanta." In addition to his work with television and the stage, Foote was also an acclaimed writer for films, penning the screenplays for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and Tender Mercies (1983), which led to Foote winning an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay, respectively. Both films also contributed to Foote's recognition by the Writers Guild of America. Foote often wrote screenplays based on his own plays, including his semi-autobiographical trilogy 1918 (1985), On Valentine's Day (1986), and Courtship (1987). The first two films of the trilogy were shot on location in Waxahachie, Texas. Foote died in Hartford, Connecticut, on March 4, 2009 at the age of 92. Fun fact: Foote was the descendant of Albert Clinton Horton, a Texas politician and the first Lieutenant Governor of Texas.