Films featuring well-known Texans
Allan Shivers was a Texas politician who held several offices spanning the legislative and executive branch, including that of governor from 1949 - 1957.
To learn more about Governor Shivers, see the Allan Shivers tab on any of these videos' pages.
Dorothy Ann Willis Richards was a Texas politician and the Governor of Texas from 1991-95, known for her progressive politics, quick wit, sharp tongue, and helmet of bright white hair. Richards was born in Lakeview, near Waco, in 1933, and attended Baylor University. Before entering politics, she supported her civil rights lawyer husband, David Richards, and raised their four children while volunteering with the Texas Democratic Party and other progressive political organizations. She began her political career in earnest as a campaign manager for Sarah Weddington in 1972 and Wilhelmina Delco in 1974. Weddington was the attorney for "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, and Delco was the first African-American to represent Austin in the Texas Legislature. Richards was elected Travis County Commissioner in 1976 and Texas State Treasurer in 1982 and 1986. Richards achieved national prominence when she delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1988 and became famous for her line about the elder George Bush, "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Richards was elected Governor of Texas in 1990, an office in which she appointed many women, Latinos, and African-Americans to office and also created the state lottery, worked to equally distribute public school funding, vetoed the Concealed Carry Bill, and reformed the Texas prison system. Richards also brought the Texas Film Commission to the Office of the Governor and advocated extensively for the Texas film industry. She was defeated for reelection in 1994 by George W. Bush. Richards remained active in politics but never again held elected office. Richards was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in March 2006 and died on September 13, 2006 in Austin. She is buried in the Texas State Cemetery.
For more on Ann Richards, check the Ann Richards tab on any of these videos' pages.
Audie Murphy is considered to be the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II. Born in Kingston, Texas in 1925, Audie was the son of a sharecropper who enlisted in the military at age 18 and quickly became recognized as an outstanding soldier. By the end of World War II Audie had killed 240 German combatants and received 33 awards and medals for his valiant efforts, including the Medal of Honor. Audie went on to enjoy a 21 year-long acting career, appearing in over 40 feature films. Roles included playing himself in the autobiographical To Hell and Back and the lead in The Red Badge of Courage. In addition to acting, Murphy also became a successful country songwriter and worked with singers such as Dean Martin and Jerry Wallace.
For more on Audie Murphy, check the Audie Murphy tab on any of these videos' pages.
Barbara Jordan was born in Houston's Fifth Ward in 1936, the daughter of a Baptist minister and domestic worker. Jordan attended Texas Southern University where she was a member of the debate team; she was the first woman to travel with the team, and along with debate partner Otis King, integrated tournaments in the South, consistently sweeping competitions. Jordan went on attend Boston University School of Law, finishing in 1959. After practicing private law in Houston, she entered the political arena. Jordan was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate since 1883 and the first southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives. In 1976, Jordan was the first African-American woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, a speech that is still lauded as one of the best in modern history. After retiring from politics in 1979, Jordan taught ethics at the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Among many other honors, Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994. In 1996, Barbara Jordan died of complications from pneumonia, a result of her battles with both multiple sclerosis and leukemia. She rests in the Texas State Cemetery, the first African-American woman to be buried there.
Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives (1965 - 1969), Lieutenant Governor (1969 - 1973)
Born in 1938 in Gorman, Ben Barnes won a seat to the Texas House of Representatives while still a student at University of Texas Austin. In 1965, at the age of 26, Barnes was elected the youngest House speaker in state history. During his time in politics, he prioritized the financial needs of the state’s colleges and universities, helped pass legislation enforcing a minimum wage for farm laborers, and played a significant role in the passage of clean air and water legislation.
Richard “Cactus” Pryor began his career in radio in 1944 and has remained a prominent broadcasting personality well into the twenty first century. Pryor was first heard on Lady Bird Johnson’s radio station 590 KLBJ, though his face became as well known as his voice once he moved to television broadcasting on KTBC. Beyond his work on radio and television, Pryor has also appeared in the movies Hellfighters, The Green Berets, published several books, and earned a reputation as a witty speaker. Pryor, a native Austinite, received the nickname “Cactus” in reference to “The Cactus,” one of the first motion picture theaters in Austin owned by his father. He was nationally-known, but kept Austin his home, helping put the city on the map in the 60s and 70s. Pryor’s allegiance to Austin is reflected by the city which named February 4, 1982, “Cactus Pryor Day.” Cactus Pryor announced to his KLBJ listeners in 2007 that he had Alzheimer's disease, and Austin's "original funnyman" died in 2011.