Films featuring well-known Texans
Born in Hot Wells, Harris County, Texas in 1918, Mary Kathlyn Wagner was to grow up to become one of the top female entrepreneurs in American history. Her path to success began when she resigned her director-level position at a sales company after repeatedly being passed over for promotion in favor of less-qualified men. In response, she set out to write a book to help women advance in business. The result was not a book but a business plan; Mary Kay Cosmetics was founded in Dallas in 1963.
Mary Kay, Inc. is a multi-level marketing company based in Addison, Texas that manufactures and distributes cosmetics products directly to consumers. The company was founded by Texas native Mary Kay Ash in 1963 on her $5,000 life savings and the help of her son, Richard Rogers. Mary wrote her direct sales business plan before she had a product and subsequently purchased the formulas for five skin care products derived from tanning solutions from a Texas hide tanner’s daughter. Mary Kay uses independent businesswomen that recruit their own sales force. Mary Kay sells its products at wholesales prices to independent Mary Kay consultants, who then markup the products and sell them directly through personal networks. The company encourages each of its consultants to “consider herself Mary Kay” and remember that “you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself.” Mary Kay is known for its trademark Mary Kay Pink and corporate appreciation rewards, earned through sales, such as pink Cadillacs, vacations, and jewelry. Today, Mary Kay employs approximately 250,000 independent beauty consultants, and in 2011 had net sales of $2.9 billion.
Born in Uvalde, Texas on November 4, 1969, actor Matthew McConaughey has appeared in some of Hollywood’s most popular films. McConaughey grew up in Longview as the youngest son of a teacher and the owner of an oil pipe supply business. McConaughey originally studied to be a lawyer at the University of Texas. The actor cites reading Og Mandino’s motivational book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, as his inspiration to change his major and career path from law to film.
Prior to his 1993 breakout role as Wooderson in Richard Linklater’s cult classic Dazed and Confused, McConaughey acted in commercials and student films. Throughout his career, he has performed in, produced, and directed over fifty feature films. His select filmography includes John Sayles’s Lone Star, Contact, How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days, Magic Mike, Killer Joe, Wolf of Wall Street, and Richard Linklater’s Bernie, in which he played small town Texas attorney Danny Buck and his mother had a cameo. He also achieved great popular and critical success for his role as Detective Rust Cohle on HBO's True Detective in 2014. McConaughey won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actor In a Leading Role for his portrayal of a cowboy diagnosed with AIDS in Dallas Buyer's Club in 2013. In addition to his film career, McConaughey established the j.k. livin Foundation in 2008. The Foundation is dedicated to teaching high school students the importance of active living and healthy decisions.
Best known for his tough-guy roles and dancing abilities, actor Patrick Swayze was born in Houston on August 18, 1952. His mother, Patsy Swayze, owned the dance school where young Swayze attended dance lessons and met his future wife Lisa Niemi.The couple married in 1975. Throughout High school, Swayze showed interests in acting, dancing, and football. He studied gymnastics at San Jacinto College before moving to New York in 1972 to complete his dance training with the Harkness and Joffrey ballet schools. Swayze first danced professionally as Prince Charming in Disney on Parade and went on to briefly play Danny Zuko as a replacement in the original Broadway production of Grease.
After many supporting roles in film and television, such as Ace in Skatetown U.S.A., Swayze began to gain notoriety for his parts in The Outsiders, Red Dawn, and North and South. His breakthrough film role came with his performance as bad-boy dance instructor Johnny Castle, in the surprise hit Dirty Dancing, for which Swayze received a Golden Globe nomination in 1987. He received another nomination for his portrayal of Sam Wheat alongside Demi Moore in the 1990 blockbuster film Ghost. Swayze’s selected filmography includes Point Break, Donnie Darko, To Wong Foo, and Road House, where he plays the mysterious professional “Cooler” James Dalton. The performer returned to Broadway in 2003 as Billy Flynn in the acclaimed revival of Chicago and in the West End staging of Guys and Dolls.
Swayze was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in 2008. He was able to continue acting while receiving treatment and fighting the illness. In early 2009, despite media claims of Swayze’s failing health, he told Barbara Walters that he was “kicking it.” Patrick Swayze died on September 14, 2009, survived by his wife, mother, and three siblings.
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.
Ralph Webster Yarborough, known as "Smilin' Ralph," was a U.S. senator representing Texas from 1957 through 1971. During his period as senator, he was one of the few Southern politicians supporting progressive legislation such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act of 1965, and social programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
For a full biography of Yarborough, check the Ralph Yarborough tab on any of these videos' pages.
El Paso icon Rosa Guerrero is an artist, educator, dance historian, and humanitarian born in El Paso in 1934. After a childhood fraught with discrimination due to her Mexican roots, Guerrero worked in her adult life to create a space of multi-cultural appreciation and education in El Paso schools. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in Education from Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso) in the 1970s. She founded the Rosa Guerrero International Ballet Folklorico in 1974, and worked in El Paso public schools for over 20 years where she developed the first curricula in multicultural education. She has received many awards throughout her career, including an induction into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame and the George I. Sánchez Memorial Award for her contributions to multicultural education. Guerrero was also the first Latina woman in El Paso to have a public school named after her.