Notable Texans
Films featuring well-known Texans
John Goodwin Tower was the first Republican United States senator from Texas since Reconstruction. He served from 1961 until his retirement on January 3, 1985, after which time he was appointed as the chairman of the Reagan-appointed Tower Commission that investigated the Iran-Contra Affair. 
Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor was born in Karnack, Texas on December 22, 1912. Lady Bird, the nickname given by nursemaid Alice Tittle, attended high school in Marshall and junior college at Dallas’ St. Mary’s Episcopal College for Women. In 1933 through 1934, she received a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.  Mutual friends introduced Lady Bird to congressional aide and rising political star, Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ proposed on the couple’s first date and the two were married a month later on November 17, 1934. Lady Bird financed her husband’s first congressional campaign for Austin’s Tenth District using a portion of her maternal inheritance. During World War II, Lady Bird ran the congressional office while LBJ served in the US Navy.  In 1943, Lady Bird purchased Austin Radio station KTBC. The station proved an integral part of the LBJ Holding Company and became the main source of the Johnson family’s fortune.  LBJ’s political career gained momentum in the post war years, and in 1960, he became Vice President to John F. Kennedy. Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as Commander and Chief aboard Air Force One following President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. As first lady, Lady Bird initiated the Society for a More Beautiful National Capitol and worked with the American Association of Nurserymen to promote the planting of wildflowers along highways. In 1964, the first lady traveled through eight southern states aboard her train, “The Lady Bird Special,” to foster support for LBJ’s presidential re-election and the Civil Rights Act. She was influential in promoting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, referred to as “Lady Bird’s Bill,” and the Head Start program . Following the death of LBJ in 1973, Lady Bird turned her attention to Austin. The Town Lake Beautification Project transformed Austin’s downtown lake, renamed Lady Bird Lake in 2007, into a useable recreation area. On December 22, 1982, Lady Bird and Helen Hays founded the National Wildflower Research Center outside of Austin. The Wildflower Center was established to increase awareness and research for North American flora.  During her lifetime, the former first lady received the highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1988. Lady Bird died of natural causes on July 11, 2007, survived by two daughters, seven grandchildren, and  ten great-grandchildren.   
Liz Carpenter was a writer, feminist, media advisor, and high-ranking White House staff member during the LBJ administration. Mary Elizabeth Sutherland was born in Salado, Texas in 1920, and spent most of her childhood in Austin. She met her husband, Les Carpenter, while working on her high school newspaper. The two worked together on the University of Texas paper, as well, and were married in 1944. In 1942, Carpenter began covering the White House and Congress for Austin's newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, and after their wedding, Liz and Les moved to Washington D.C. and launched the Carpenter News Bureau. She and Les worked devotedly, only taking time off for the births of their children, Scott and Christy. Carpenter continued working as a reporter until joining Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign for Vice President in 1960, traveling as a press spokeswoman until after the election when she became the first female Executive Assistant to the Vice President. Upon LBJ's succession to the presidency, Carpenter was promoted to Press Secretary to the First Lady, the first woman to hold that position. Carpenter is known for her quick wit and humor, and it came through in speeches she wrote for both Lady Bird and President Johnson. After LBJ's term, Carpenter devoted her time to writing and working for the National Women's Political Caucus, of which she was a founder, and working with ERAmerica to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. She later served for Presidents Ford, Carter, and Clinton on women's issues, education, and serving the senior population. Les died suddenly in 1974, and Liz returned to Austin in 1976, citing her love of family and love of Texas. She wrote Getting Better All the Time in 1986, Unplanned Parenthood in 1994, Start With a Laugh in 2000, and Presidential Humor in 2006, as well as many articles and lectures. Carpenter was given many awards throughout her life, including being named to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in the 1980s. Two awards are named in her honor - The Liz Carpenter Lectureship at the University of Texas and the Liz Carpenter Award for the best scholarly book on the history of women and Texas. Carpenter died in Austin in March of 2010. 
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. 
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born near Stonewall, Texas on August 27, 1908. Johnson began his career as a teacher before entering politics in 1930. After serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, Johnson was elected to the vice presidency in late 1960. He became President on November 22, 1963 upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but won the presidency in his own right in the 1964 election and held that office until 1969. During his presidential tenure, Johnson was involved in several significant national and international events including the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, the signing of the Civil Rights Act, as well as the escalation of the Vietnam War. Although eligible, Johnson did not run for reelection in 1968. He died after suffering his third heart attack on January 22, 1973, and is buried at the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall. For more on LBJ, check the Lyndon B. Johnson tab on any of these videos' pages.
James Edward Ferguson—better known as “Pa” Ferguson—was born on August 31, 1871, near Salado in Bell County, Texas. His wife, Miriam Amanda Wallace—better known as “Ma” Ferguson—was born in Bell County, Texas, on June 13, 1875. The couple married in 1899 and had two children: Ouida and Dorris.  Although he had never previously held office, James ran for Governor of Texas in 1914 as the anti-prohibition candidate. He won in 1914 and was reelected in 1916. Early in his second term, however, James became involved in a serious quarrel with the University of Texas after its board of regents refused to dismiss faculty members whom he found objectionable. In retaliation, the Governor vetoed the appropriations for the university. An impeachment trial followed in 1917, with the Texas Senate ultimately convicting him on 10 charges. As a result, the Court of Impeachment voted to remove James from office and make him ineligible to hold any public office in the state of Texas. Following her husband's impeachment, Miriam decided to run for the governorship herself in 1924. James served as her campaign manager. Telling voters that they would get “two governors for the price of one,” referring to her and her husband, Miriam won not only the Democratic nomination but also the general election. As such, she became the first female Governor of Texas as well as the first elected female state governor in the United States. Ferguson ran for—and won—the position again in 1932. Miriam's time as chief executive of Texas was not without its controversy. Rumors circulated that state highway contracts were given to those who advertised in the Fergusons’ newspaper, and that pardons were available for prisoners who made cash payments to the governor’s husband. Nevertheless, Miriam took on many of the era’s tougher issues, aligning herself with anti-prohibitionists and denouncing the Ku Klux Klan. She also helped establish the University of Houston as a four-year institution. Following her husband's impeachment, Miriam decided to run for the governorship herself in 1924. James served as her campaign manager. Telling voters that they would get “two governors for the price of one,” referring to her and her husband, Miriam won not only the Democratic nomination but also the general election. As such, she became the first female Governor of Texas as well as the first elected female state governor in the United States. Ferguson ran for—and won—the position again in 1932. Miriam's time as chief executive of Texas was not without its controversy. Rumors circulated that state highway contracts were given to those who advertised in the Fergusons’ newspaper, and that pardons were available for prisoners who made cash payments to the governor’s husband. Nevertheless, Miriam took on many of the era’s tougher issues, aligning herself with anti-prohibitionists and denouncing the Ku Klux Klan. She also helped establish the University of Houston as a four-year institution. Aside from Miriam's unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 1940, the Fergusons retired from political life after her term ended. James died of a stroke on September 21, 1944. Miriam died of heart failure on June 25, 1961.
Marion Price Daniel Sr. served Texas for forty years, holding a number of offices at the state and national level. Daniel was born in Dayton, Texas, on October 10, 1910, earned his law degree from Baylor University in 1932, and worked as a defense attorney in Liberty, TX, until his election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1938.  His political career then steadily advanced: he was elected Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 1943, Texas Attorney General in 1947, and U.S. Senator from Texas in 1952. In 1957 he was elected Governor of Texas, a position he held until 1963. From 1967 to 1969 he headed the Office of Emergency Preparedness under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and from 1971 to 1978 served as Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Some endeavors for which Price Daniel became best known are his defense of Texas ownership of its tidelands, his defense of the University of Texas Law School in the 1950 Sweatt v. Painter desegregation case, his staunch opposition to a state sales tax, and his key role in the construction of the Texas State and Library Archives building on the Capitol grounds. Price Daniel died in 1988 and is buried on his family ranch in Liberty.