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S47 Ep24


Premiere: 6/19/2020 | 00:00:30 | Closed Captioning Icon

Enjoy a powerful and revealing look at legendary, larger-than-life Texas governor Ann Richards who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family in this critically acclaimed play written by and starring Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor.



About the Episode

Great Performances: Ann is a no-holds-barred theatrical portrait of Ann Richards, legendary Governor of Texas (1991-95) , premiering nationwide Friday, June 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app. Written and performed by Emmy Award-winning actor Holland Taylor (“Two and a Half Men,” Broadway’s “The Front Page”), the play is a compelling look at the impassioned, inspiring woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family. Beginning with a commencement address, the play bursts into a blistering day in the life of the governor, with a cascade of task-wrangling and conversations with everyone from Richards’ friend Bill Clinton to her grandbaby Lily. We see the grit, warmth and depth in her colorful, captivating character, bigger than the state from which she hails. Directed for the stage by Benjamin Endsley Klein (Broadway credits include “The Ferryman” and “Carousel”), this production was recorded at the Zach Theater in Austin, Texas, following its national tour and Broadway run at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in 2013, which earned Taylor a Tony Award nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Play.

Neither partisan nor political, Ann began as Taylor’s quest to understand what it was about this housewife, mother, grandmother, leader and iconic patriot who inspired so many people so deeply. Writing the play became a four-year journey for Taylor, crisscrossing the country, interviewing people who knew Richards, watching countless hours of video coverage and pouring over reams of her personal and public papers at the University of Texas. In the end, Taylor’s greatest resources were the family, friends, staff and colleagues of the governor who allowed Taylor to know Ann Richards.

Holland Taylor Statement

“After 20 years in the New York theater I spread out to television and movies, mistily remembering my stage performances as the ephemeral things they are, and only rarely watching the other stuff myself. But all through my whole adult life, PBS’ Great Performances has been the source and standard of the greatest classical and most elevated entertainment to be had. And now I’m uniquely honored and thrilled, as the stage performance of my own play – surely the accomplishment of my life – is not only beautifully captured in live performance, but given an exalted presentation by Great Performances itself. I feel as I did when my Broadway producer told me after our long tour with Ann through Galveston, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago, and Washington, DC, that my play about Governor Ann Richards was going to open at New York’s Lincoln Center – I was stunned for a moment, then replied, ‘She deserves it.’ And so, she does. Ann Richards is beloved by countless people who say she lifted their lives, simply by being who she was. Given today’s world, my play about her hopes to impart ‘a little touch of Ann in the night.’”

Notable Talent

  • Holland Taylor, playwright, Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actor known for her performances in Broadway’s “The Front Page,” television’s “The Practice,” “Two and a Half Men” “The L Word,” the feature film “Legally Blonde” and more
  • Benjamin Endsley Klein, stage director of “Ann,” whose Broadway credits include associate director positions with the Tony Award-winning “The Ferryman” and Broadway’s 2018 revival of “Carousel,” “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and more.
  • David S. Wolfson, director of Great Performances: Ann, his debut as a director of long form material for broadcast.
  • David Horn, executive producer of Great Performances

Noteworthy Facts

  • Most of the play is based on anecdotes told directly to Holland Taylor from those who knew Ann Richards.
  • After playing throughout Texas to sold-out audiences, “Ann” earned critical acclaim in Chicago and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, before its Broadway run at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in 2013.
  • Holland Taylor earned Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations for her performance in “Ann.”

Short TV Listing

Enjoy a revealing look at iconic Texas governor Ann Richards in this play starring Holland Taylor.

Long TV Listing

Enjoy a powerful and revealing look at legendary, larger-than-life Texas governor Ann Richards who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family in this critically acclaimed play written by and starring Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor.

Series Overview

Throughout its more than 40-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

Production Credits

Directed for television by David S. Wolfson, Great Performances: Ann is a Spoon Films, MB Artists & Pink Granite Production, produced by David S. Wolfson and S. Lauren Sheppard;  Holland Taylor and Kevin Bailey are executive producers. Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.


Major funding for Great Performances is provided by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the Irene Diamond Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, The Phillip and Janice Levin Foundation and PBS.

Websites:,, @GPerfPBS #GreatPerformancesPBS #BroadwayOnPBS

About WNET

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.


♪♪♪ -Next on 'Great Performances'... -Ann Richards has walked through fire!

And the fire lost!

-...Holland Taylor stars in a no-holds-barred portrait of the one-of-a-kind Texas governor.

-Can you imagine if I were your mother-in-law?

I could fix you.

-Relive Richards' journey from childhood... -I just flat never understood racial prejudice after that. the governor's mansion... -Why should Washington reinvent the wheel when Texas already got it rolling?

-...and beyond, with Richards' blend of grit and humor on display every step of the way.

-I am as strong as mustard gas. What's up?

-Join us for 'Ann' next.

-If you can't tell a lie, you ain't never gonna amount to anything in Texas.

-Today we have a vision of a Texas where opportunity knows no race, no gender, no color, a glimpse of the possibilities of what can happen in government if we simply open the doors and let the people in.

[ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -Places, everyone. Places, please.

For the top of Act 1, places.

Ms. Holland Taylor.

Warning, lights 71, 72, sound AA, AA.1.

Holland's entrance, and spot.

Welcome. Welcome, everybody.

Before we introduce our distinguished visitor, we're going to show some film many of you will certainly remember.

[ Cheers and applause ] -Thank you.

Thank you.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

12 years ago, Barbara Jordan, another Texas woman -- [ Chuckles ] [ Cheers and applause ] Barbara made the keynote address to this convention.

And two women in 160 years is about par for the course.

But if you'll give us a chance, we can perform.

After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did.

She just did it backwards and in high heels.

[ 'Chariots of Fire' plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -Will the graduating class and all here please welcome Governor Ann Richards.

[ Cheers and applause ] -Well, hello.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Well, now, how great, you guys. You put on that music.

You know, we played that at every campaign of mine.

We used it every time.

I never tired of it.

I would even play it on a little, um, tape recorder and earphones on the hike-and-bike trail.

And, uh, oh, it -- it always chuffed me up.

And, my Lord, it does take me back to see a little of that keynote speech.

It just changed my life forever.

Well, look at you.

Y'all clean up pretty well.

I thank the senior class for inviting me to speak at your graduation.

I bet some of you just remember me 'cause of my hair.

You know, I notice most of the guys who tease me about my hair don't have any.

[ Laughter ] I am glad to be here to help swing the doors wide as you take wing to a new time in your life.

But I don't know if this class has any idea what happens when they invite someone who could also be their grandmother to come speak because, well, I have a lot of opinions.

Can you imagine if I were your mother-in-law?

I could fix you.

[ Laughter ] Now, before I go any further, I should probably mention, uh, since you could be from all over the country, you might think that I was the first female, uh, governor of Texas.

So I-I want to rush to disabuse you of that notion.

Texas selected its first female governor way back in the 1920s.

Her name was Ma Ferguson.

Now, Ma was called Ma 'cause she was married to a man named... -Pa.

-This is a pretty sharp crowd.

And, uh, Pa was governor of Texas.

He got impeached for selling pardons to people in the penitentiary.

So, yeah.

So when they carted Pa off to the pen himself, Ma was elected in his stead.

Her -- Her campaign slogan was, 'Two governors for the price of one.'

Now, there was a driving issue in Texas at the time that will sound somewhat familiar even today about whether or not children were to be punished if they spoke Spanish in the public schools.

And they asked Ma what she thought about it.

And Ma said -- This is true.

Ma said, 'If the English language was good enough for Jesus Christ... [ Laughter ] is good enough for the schoolchildren of Texas.'

And -- And -- And I bet -- I bet you also -- I bet you also don't know that the father of our country was born in Texas.

Oh, yeah, and when he was just a slip of a boy, he took his little hatchet, went out into the backyard, and chopped down the family mesquite tree.

And -- And when his father walked out in the yard and saw the only shade for 50 miles lying dead on the ground, he called him out.

He says, 'George, did you cut down this mesquite tree?'

And George said, 'Well, yes.

I cannot tell a lie.

I took my little hatchet and I cut the tree down.'

And his father said, 'Well, son, we are going to have to move to Virginia.'

[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] And George says, 'Oh, Father, do we have to move 'cause I cut down a tree?'

And his father says, 'No, son.

It's because if you can't tell a lie, you ain't never gonna amount to anything in Texas.'

[ Cheers and applause ] President and members of the Board of Trustees, esteemed faculty, proud graduates, and relieved parents, it isn't just you pink-cheeked youngsters who face the unknown today.

Our nation is in the throes of a-a-a commencement, if you will, more dramatic than I have seen in my lifetime.

We now move forward from our Industrial Age into the new 'Information Age.'

And this enormous shift puts a burden on your generation.

Now, earlier in the century, the simple move from the Agrarian Age into our, uh, industrial economy, from the farm to the factory floor, asked nothing new of America's workforce.

You understand?

Work still meant having a strong back and putting in the hours to do well.

But this no longer holds true for the computer consoles which now run the world.

A strong back and sweat of the brow are not what is required.

We face a daunting change.

So, look, I mean we're all nervously twirling our mortarboard tassels this day.

Oh, my goodness, it just got so quiet in here.

Now, come on, y'all know every commencement speech has to have a gloom-and-doom part.

Well, that was it.

Now, what I must do is congratulate your girls' basketball team on landing in the top three of the Southwest Conference.

I just loved basketball when I was at Baylor, and I'm a big Lady Longhorns fan.


When I -- When I first started going to their games, I was so staggered to see Barbara Jordan there.

I mean, here was I, this awestruck little housewife, and there was this great American patriot, her chair drug up to the scorekeeper's table.

And -- And on a bad night for the team, she would pound that table with the flat of her hand and say in the voice of God, 'Can we not, I say, can we not shoot any better than this?'

[ Laughs ] Oh, man.

No, there was simply something about Barbara Jordan that made you proud to be part of the country that produced her.

I still get a catch in my throat.

[ Applause ] I still get a catch in my throat to think that 15 years later, she would chair my campaign for governor.

Well, y'all, I just love being in this part of Texas.

My daddy was born just up the road from here.

And -- And when I was growing up in the early 1930s, it had to be unusual that a, uh -- a father -- simple man, he didn't go past eighth grade -- would tell his little girl, his only child, that she could do anything she wanted to in life.

But he -- he said it a lot.

And he told me that I was really smart so often that I believed him.

Oh, no, it wasn't till I got to college that I wondered if he might be wrong.

I suppose I owe my natural confidence to my daddy.

But, y'all, confidence for what?

When I was young back in the Bronze Age, little girls did not envision careers.

Why, even nursing and teaching, so desperately important, they weren't thought of as careers.

Back then, truth is, they were basically just extensions of what was expected of women anyway.

Man, had I had a crystal ball back there when I was a kid in Lakeview, that wide spot in the road where I grew up near Waco, where there was no lake to view... [ Laughter ] ...and had I seen that I would become governor of the great state of Texas, the ninth largest economy in the world, well, I-I-I would have fallen backwards off the porch laughing.

My childhood was as simple as a crayon drawing.

♪♪♪ My mama, who was called Ona, was one tough bird.

My daddy, Cecil, was pure sunlight.

And I see both of them in me like a swirl dipped cone.

I was Daddy's pride and joy.

But my mama looked at me with a narrowed eye.

Oh, she just pulled me through a knothole my entire childhood.

I suppose we were poor.

I mean, this was the middle of the Depression.

But, you know, I-I don't like the word.

I prefer 'hardworking.'

My daddy worked for the same pharmaceutical company all his life, first as a driver and then a salesman.

And he left the house early and he came home late.

And I don't believe I ever once saw my mother idle.

We lived in a little clapboard house that she basically raised up herself, drew it out with a builder, bought the materials.

Just hired laborers in town.

Mama was as hard as the nails that held that house together.

Day I was born in that house, you see, there was no star in the East.

[ Laughter ] [ Laughs ] On that day, uh, a neighbor came by to help make dinner for Mama and Daddy.

But the woman didn't know that a chicken needed killing, and, uh, oh, she just couldn't do it.

So my mama, right there in the birthing bed, hoisted herself up on an elbow and wrung that chicken's neck for her.

[ Laughter, applause ] Mama said when she taught me to sew that if the seam was not straight or if the stripes did not match on the seam that I was gonna have to pull every one of those stitches out with my teeth on Judgment Day.

[ Laughter ] One day I began to understand that I would never, ever, ever please my mother.

And that's when it sort of got funny.

When I -- When I gave that big keynote speech in Atlanta, the TV station back home in Waco, KWTX, they set up this big old watch party where my parents crowded in with a whole lot of people to see the thing on a live feed.

Now, after the speech, well, I was kind of dazed.

But -- But, uh, I-I knew it had been, um, a really big deal, yeah.

So, um -- So -- So -- So I-I call them up on the telephone.

And Mama says, 'Ann, Ann, you'll never guess what happened, something really wonderful!'

And I got all warm, you know.

And -- And I says -- I says, 'Well, what, Mama, what?'

And she says, 'Oh, Ann, I got to meet the Channel 10 weatherman!'

[ Laughter ] [ Laughs ] Oh, God.

I tell these stories on my mama.

But, no, I-I do owe her gratitude.

I got her grit.

She taught me that you move on.

You don't cry over spilt milk.

In fact, if my mama is your mama, you'd better not cry at all.

Now, my father was a darling man.

He used to take me by the hand.

Now, I was this little itty-bitty thing, and he was 6'4'. And he'd say, 'Let's go, Puss.'

And he would take me fishing, which I thought then and still do was the grandest thing you could do.

And we'd visit the drugstore, you know, with the chairs out front and -- and, uh, the barbershop, those places old guys gather and sit and -- and joyfully greet each other as if they hadn't just met the day before sitting together.

My daddy was the greatest storyteller but, um, awful bawdy stories.

Oh, oh, no, just -- just -- just the worst.

It's why I developed such a taste for dirty jokes.

Oh, I-I can't -- I can't resist them. I admit it.

Geez, I wish I could tell you all a story here.

I can't. Oh, no, no, no. I can't.

But, no, they are really too nasty.

Oh, well, now wait, now.

No, no, no, no, there is -- there is one that I might could tell.

And -- And I know the Board of Trustees would be disappointed if I didn't tell one just a little risqué. So it seems there's these three dogs are put in a pen out at the vet, some little terrier type and, um, a bulldog and a Great Dane.

And they fall to talking, wonderin' what they're doin' there.

And the little terrier says, 'Oh, well, I got in big trouble.

I bit this little girl's ankle real bad.

And, um, well, I'm afraid they're gonna put me down today.'

And the bulldog says, 'Well, that's terrible.'

And the terrier says, 'What's your story?'

And the bulldog says, 'Well, it's sort of similar.

I chased our neighbor's cat and I caught it.

And I just -- I just tore its throat out.

And, um, they're -- they're gonna put me down -- uh, they're gonna put me down, too.'

So they both look over to the -- to the Great Dane.

And they say, 'Hey, pal, what are you in here for?'

And the Great Dane stretches out, says, 'Well, guys, it's kind of like you.

I was just sitting in the living room the other day, and my mistress come in out of the shower.

She had a towel wrapped around her.

And she bent over to pick up a newspaper.

And I don't know what came over me.

[ Laughter ] But -- But I-I jumped up and I mounted her.'

And the other two dogs go, 'Oh, my God.

Well, what are they gonna do to you?'

And the Great Dane says, 'Well, they're gonna trim my nails and try to do something about my breath.'

[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] Like I said, a darling man.

So while I wasn't groomed for greatness, I am sure that my political career rested on the ease that I felt out in the world with Daddy and certainly amongst all those good old boys, of which he was one.

But for all that, um, fatherly warmth I had in my life, there was something else, too, gave me a sense of, uh, belonging in the world from when I was a child, something that happened.

We were, uh, in the middle of the war, the big war, of course.

Japan had just entered the fray.

And my daddy was drafted into the Navy.

Soon he got stationed out in San Diego, had to leave us.

And we were not a-a touchy, huggy kind of family, you know.

But the day he left, he reached down for me and he burst out crying.

After he'd been in California, um, a few months, Mama and I just couldn't stand it.

She yanked me out of school, killed every chicken we had, canned them, canned everything in the garden, wedged all our belongings and us in this old worn-out Chrysler we had, and lit out for California.

She'd never been much further than the grocery.

But, oh, no, she -- she drove us across this whole darn country herself.

And when we finally arrived, Daddy said that we looked like the grapes of wrath.

[ Laughter ] So there I was, from this teeny-tiny crossroads in the middle of Texas, over to sprawling San Diego, where -- where you got to look down on an ocean.

I took a city bus to a big public school with thousands of kids.

And they were all nationalities, all colors, all stripes and sizes.

There were brown kids and Italians, Asian, and -- and, uh, Greek students, Hispanic, and Black children.

And those kids were all... exactly like me.

Oh, it was just a moment to make you blink.

I just flat never understood racial prejudice after that.

I mean, I-I know I may have only been a child.

But I think that -- that I saw it plain.

There's a way people could live that -- that you all would call fair play.

But at the same time, I saw it was no sure thing in this world.

For where I grew up, why, segregation was rooted.

It was just an unnoted aspect of everyday life.

So there in my, um, 11th year, what with this fabulous vision of the confetti of kids who were all my new friends, my eyes popped open.

And I never knew they were shut.

Oh, no, life was never the same for me.

Stepped down off of that bus and into the world.

But the passion that I suddenly felt for -- for, well, what, simple fairness was personal.

And, yeah, by the time I grew up into this young Austin housewife, yeah, sure, no, it did become political.

But that didn't mean I was gonna be politics.

Shoot, it never entered my head that I'd ever serve.

In the '50s?

How ridiculous.

Now, with my young husband, David Richards, it was another story.

He was a civil rights lawyer, and he knew absolutely everything.

And -- And for David and me, politics was like -- it's like going dancing or bowling for other couples.

Hell, we were tacking campaign posters to telephone poles on our honeymoon.

When I was a girl back in high school, I was a big star on the debate team, don't you know.

It just made perfect sense that I was gonna fall madly in love with David Richards and he with me.

He was tall.

He was almost as tall as Daddy.

And he was really, really smart.

And we loved to talk.

Unlike other teenagers, he had no cruelty in him.

As a boy, he read the story of Robin Hood over and over.

And he would always cry salty tears when Robin dies at the end.

David wanted to protect people who needed help, too.

And in a very real sense, that is what he would do with the law.

Our song was Tony Bennett singing 'Blue Velvet.'

We married at 19.

In those days, that was not thought to be too young.

I was happy as could be.

We both were.

And I -- And I felt that taking care of my children and my husband my profession.

You know? All the way into the sunset.

So I set about making kids.

We quit at four.

[ Laughter ] And David made a big hit arguing out under the trees with all the crusty old Democrats at Scholz's beer garden.

And I was content just to soak it all up, knock back those cold beers, and worship at David's shrine.

And I thought -- [ Laughs ] I thought that my duty in life was to be perfect -- perfect wife, mother, lover, nursemaid, cook, you name it.

If it was in the glossy magazines, I was doing it.

I wanted to be, and I was, everything to everybody.

And if I had a spare 15 minutes, I'd plan a big old dinner party for 60.

♪♪♪ I took -- I took the Waco Women's Club motto as my own -- 'If we rest, we rust.'

[ Laughter ] [ Laughs ] [ Applause ] And I did -- I did all of it with this -- this prideful energy that was floating just on top of desperation.

Of course, I didn't see it that way, not when there was a vodka martini with a twist waiting.

And believe you me, there always was.

Anyway, by then, I was already focused on the hard practical reality of fixing stuff in my community, you know, like -- like getting stop signs put up at the bad intersections, stuff like that.

I was like the poster child for functioning alcoholics everywhere.

And -- And I functioned all over the place.

[ Laughs ] And -- And on the political front, well, by then I had long since quit getting coffee for the guy with the clipboard.

And -- And I had learned how to put together a smart campaign.

I helped several women, uh, run for office, much younger than I, of course, women of real stature, like, um, um, Sarah Weddington, who, at a mere 26, had just argued We ran -- There you go.

[ Applause ] We ran a pretty good race.

Sarah won a seat in the Texas House.

I had an adrenalin rush that should have been illegal.

And then, you see, my job was done.

Sarah had to go to work, but I could just go on home and, uh, plant the new garden, give the dogs a tick bath, and -- and face once again how far apart by then my husband and I had grown.

I am bemused that in that racetrack world of politics I loved, with its glamorous images of running and taking the lead and winning the roses, I always saw myself way up in the stands.

I-I never saw myself as the horse.

And nobody else tried to throw a saddle on me, either.

Maybe it was kind of like 'cause I was -- I was kind of like the class clown in our gang.

It's very tricky when a woman is funny.

And then, of course, uh, there was the drinking.

Yeah, well... The drinking was no help, y'all.

I know I crossed the line one time going to a costume party dressed as a tampon.

[ Laughter ] Well, you can sort of see it, can't ya?

So -- [ Laughs ] So I-I wasn't on anybody's lips as a likely public servant.

However, I was on a fervent mission to get other women -- not me, but other women and minorities -- to participate in government with this little group that traveled all over the state.

Uh, uh, the local chapter was run by this fabulous girl named Jane Hickey.

And she spied me as someone who could sell this stuff like hot cakes.

So we put our act together and we took it on the road, looking for women with a glint in their eye.

One fine day -- It's always on a fine day, isn't it?

One fine day, a bunch of our political friends came over to persuade my husband to run for county commissioner.

Now, it's sort of like a governor on a teeny little local scale.

It is -- Well, 'cause it's executive in nature.

But David was deep in important, uh, civil rights lawsuits.

He says, no, he didn't -- he didn't want to run.

So then everyone's in our little kitchen, sitting around moping.

And then one of them says, 'Well... Ann, why don't you run?'

I think I was at the sink.

There was this pause, and then somebody else goes, 'Hmm,' like did they want tomato soup or chicken noodle.

[ Laughter ] Now, I was -- I was just a fill-in.

Women never did those big jobs.

But, see, they didn't have anyone else they could run.

So we do the precinct research and fuss about it for weeks, and turns out all our pals think I got a shot.

And then finally my husband says, 'Ann, if you don't take a chance, you're gonna wonder about this for the rest of your life.'

Well, my blood ran cold.

See, now, he and I might have seemed like a permanent institution to all our friends after, you know, 20-odd years.

But a lot of love had gone under that bridge.

And, uh, now we were pretty ragged.

And somewhere I knew that if I won that county commissioner job, I could only do it whole hog, all in.

I feared our marriage would not hold.

And, of course, I was right.

In those next first years of my public service, when my whole life was expanding, everything that made me feel like me was collapsing.

Hey, I wasn't drinking for nothing.

[ Laughter ] Now, listen. Listen.

About the drinking.

Look, y'all, I was fun.

[ Laughter ] [ Cheers and applause ] We -- We -- We gave parties for absolutely no reason.

And I -- And I really threw a bash if it was Thursday.

I-I must have drunk eleven hundred thousand martinis by the time I landed in AA.

And by then, I was already this big old county commissioner.

So, uh, yeah.

So, uh, I like to think that I broke a barrier for politicians with an addiction in their past.

And, hell, nowadays you can't hardly even get into a primary unless you've done time in rehab.

[ Laughter, applause ] I went to rehab.

I went to rehab 'cause a bunch of my friends and family snuck up on me with this intervention deal.

Come on, I was, like, traumatized, seeing all them sitting there, looking like the Lord's last supper.

Well, I thought something had happened to one of my children.

And when I got the drift, I thought, Wh-Wh-- If this -- If this isn't a pile.

You all were right there drinking with me.'

Well, one by one they all told me what I was like when I was drunk.

And you just -- you just can't even hear that stuff.

And then one of our dearest old friends says, 'Ann, we named our only daughter after you.

We want her to be proud of you.'

I was on a plane to a treatment hospital that very night.

Drunk school, we called it.

And, yeah. Yeah.

I must have learned something, uh, the month that I spent there 'cause I was sure glad to be sober.

When, uh, pretty soon after David and I made our goodbyes, I was by then, uh -- well, I was in my 40s.

I had never been alone one minute in my life.

I thought if I was not married to David Richards right into the sunset that I was gonna die.

And -- And -- And when he was finally really gone, I am just mortified to tell you that I actually took up knitting.

[ Laughter ] But, um, time passed.

Time passed, and I was still alive.

And you know what?

It just seemed like a better idea to become governor of Texas instead.

[ Laughs ] [ Cheers and applause ] But -- But back -- But back in that hot kitchen, back at that crossroads, when he said, 'You should do it, Ann,' I froze.

And then the clock went tick.

And I moved ahead.

And without even knowing it, I placed my bets on me.

And work -- work was the best antidote for fear.

So I hit the gas.

Besides, the notion of running was catching on.

Gears were turning.

Clipboards were flying.

And before I knew it, all my network of women arrived on their brooms... [ Laughter ] ...with their law degrees and their checkbooks and their Rolodexes.

I had the sense to snag that Jane Hickey person as my campaign manager.

And she may have been 15 years my junior, but really she was like a mentor to me.

And she is so wicked smart.

You don't know what the hell she just said, but you know it's good.

[ Laughter ] We started planning, all of us, around our big old dinner table.

Well, shoot, we knew how to do it.

I was suiting up.

Gosh, I-I was happy.

And now there was a glint in my eye.

Now, don't get me wrong.

Being a mother meant everything to me.

But my kids were pretty grown, and here I had the chance to put to the fire things that I had stood for all my life.

If -- If I was ambitious, it's because I know that life is not fair.

I had learned that at 11.

Life is not fair.

But government should be.

And thus began my career.

[ Applause ] County commissioner for six years.

That elected up to state treasurer, couple of terms.

Now, who knew this meant endless campaigning?

And it is some hard work on the road.

Oh, man.

Buses, beat-up old vans, state fairs.

You ever been to a state fair?

Without a hat?

Up to your eyeballs in balloons and barbecues, just -- just forging along from town to dusty town.

Do you understand, folks?

Texas is bigger than France.

[ Laughter ] But 15 years on that fast track of Texas politics seemed to agree with me.

Hey, other than mud in your face, it's fun.

And then out of the blue, along comes that big keynote speech in Atlanta.

And suddenly half the damn country sees me as the horse.

I must have been on the front page of every newspaper in the English-speaking world.

My supporters dropped their popcorn and burst into flame.

[ Laughter ] They turned their eyes to the governor's mansion.

Good God, did we dare?

Yeah, we did.

But, look y'all, on paper, a woman, a divorced woman, a 10-year-sober alcoholic, and a Democrat, no less, running... [ Cheers and applause ] ...running for governor of macho, conservative Texas.

Well, get back. I mean, that is insane, even though I had done really well in public service, off the charts, if you must know.

Oh, no, we raised more non-tax money for Texas than all the treasurers in the history of the state combined.

Even so -- Even so, no one -- no one thought we could actually take the capital.

But a lot of powerful people, and everyday folk, too, they -- they went beyond thinking.

And they just felt in their blood that somehow I could.

And they went with their blood.

Now, you all have to know Texas politics is a contact sport -- no autopsy, no foul.

That campaign was the most stressful thing I have ever done in my entire life -- well, other than teach junior high school.

[ Laughter ] But even the most brutal gubernatorial race in recorded history couldn't knock the wind out of our hope to make a new Texas where the doors of government were open and everyone got to come in.

The national press was all over that race.

One guy wrote, 'Ann Richards has walked through fire, and the fire lost.'

[ Laughter ] And those people who figured that they could easily deal with this white-headed old lady soon discover that while I may have what Molly Ivins called Republican hair... [ Laughter ] ...the reality is, kids, it's best you know [Imitates gunshot] I come from Georgia prison stock.

[ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ 15 years after knocking on my first door, I found myself the governor of Texas, older and wiser.

I had learned by then what not everyone knows -- It takes one person to run and it takes quite another to actually govern.

[ Beeping ] Yeah?

Nancy, who is it?

I'm not taking any calls unless it's the President of the United States of America.

-Well, according to Bill, he still is the President.

-Oh, my God.

Well, hi, kid.

How are you?

Well, it sure makes a girl feel good the President returns her calls so quick.

Yeah, it's a program we're all fired up about, uh, in Texas.

A report's gonna be on your desk tomorrow.

It's a really creative approach to -- to ending the welfare cycle that I genuinely, Bill -- I genuinely think this could be the model for the nation.

And I urge you to give it your attention.

No. Yeah, the pilot program is up.

It's running like gangbusters in San Antonio.

Why should Washington reinvent the wheel when Texas has already got it rolling?

Well, uh, thank you.

Uh, thank you, Mr. President.

Oh, I think Senator Kerry is doing great.

I'm gonna keep October clear as I can.

You need me up in Massachusetts, I'm all in, money, marbles, and chalk.

I love you too, Bill.


Nancy, this Edward person, the Ivy League guy doing the -- doing the, uh, Mexico state visit, did he call or just send his stupid fax?

-No, he hasn't called. -Little chicken... -And, Governor, I have not found one of your children.

I left messages for Clark and Ellen and Dan, but Cecile's machine didn't even pick up.

-Well, keep trying all of them.

Okay. Now, this trip is in 10 days.

I have no hotels and no liaison to President Salinas.

Well, so much for diplomatic relations.

Honestly, how dare this guy.

Did my chief of staff make it back from Washington yet?

-Yes. I think she just did.

-Oh, my Lord, there's no airpl-- Hi. Welcome home.

Mary Beth, uh, this ass...Edward, the -- the -- the -- the guy doing Mexico, now, this guy couldn't organize a circle... I don't care.

I don't care who hired him.

Listen, it's not gonna be the first time Cathy Bonner was blinded by a cute butt.

Well, s-- Just roll him back to Commerce like the spare tire he is.

And this is a state visit, for God's sake.

Get Moya.

He'll find somebody really sharp to take over who was at least from Mexico.

Now, Mary Beth, I know I told you that I would, uh, never ask you to work at night if I could possibly avoid it.

And I-I haven't, you know?

I mean, look, I'm not asking you to come to this meeting tonight when -- when you're just back and all.

But tomorrow is that, um -- that big reception for all the governors.

And I just need you to stay and just -- just walk me into the room.

Just get me started.

Hell, no, I'm not asking him.

Why do I always get drug around by the lieutenant governor?

Bob Bullock and I aren't even speaking this week.

Why -- Why can't -- Why can't you do it?

I am so weary of fussing with this man.

Why can't my chief of staff bring me in?

But you will be home early.

Just get me through the door.

I'm fine once I'm in the swing.

Oh, this -- this thing tonight is just -- I-I need some help about this kid scheduled to die.

It's just -- It is so murky to justify it.

But I seem to be considering a stay.

[ Crowd shouting in distance ] No one around here remembers a governor giving one, so it must have been a long time ago.

Mary Beth, go over to your windows.

Look down at the front steps.

Now, do you have a crowd gathering over there yet?

Well, it's all over the news.

Now the Pope is horning in on this, for God's sake.

The Lord's eye may be on the sparrow, but the Pope is looking at Texas.

No, no. No, that -- No, that case comes up next month.

This is the one where that -- that, um -- that abused kid raped and killed the -- the, uh, 76-year-old nun.

I know. Well, who can bear it?

My mama is 76.

But you just can't believe this -- this, uh, boy's childhood.

When he is a baby, his parents put him bare bottom on a stove burner.

His father lets his thug friends rape him.

I mean this is really sick stuff.

Well, I'm sure as day gonna bring ashes down on her head but... Oh, yeah. No. I -- No, I-I agree.

I'm gonna have to go with what I feel.

But -- But, listen, I'm -- I-I just -- I got to run.

I can't even face this music until tonight after El Paso.

Okay. Bye.


Oh, for pity's sake.

I was not mean to Suzanne.

Now, I beat on her because if I don't, she will never finish writing a speech.

I'm the one under a magnifying glass around here.

I always have to be on.

If I can't let my hair down with the people I love, then when can I?

Oh. Oh, well, that's funny, Mary Beth.

Look, I do let go and let God.

But he can't make Suzanne do anything, either.

[ Laughter ] Okay. Bye.

Nancy, get me my travel aide.

I think it's Donisi today.

-Oh, Ann, he just stepped out.

He's been trying to get something to eat.

-Well, I need him.

-Oh, boy.

I'll send someone to catch him.

-Ellen, there you are.

Your mother here.

Listen, I haven't heard from one of you kids about our long weekend.

I'm just sitting here like an old fool, assuming you're all coming.

Oh, well. Okay, then.

Uh, listen, I want you -- I want you to go -- go, uh -- go rent a small van.

Charge it to me.

And bring that set of red chairs in Cecile's attic down to the beach.

I-I-I want them for the housekeeper's daughter.

Oh, darling, you do this for me, you ain't ever gonna have to cook or wash up.

You're gonna be the princess of the van.

Now, you telephone everyone to hit the King's Inn around lunchtime.

I'm gonna take off 45 minutes after you do.

My guys drive me 100 miles an hour.

No, no, you call. You call.

Cecile is just nuts with those twins.

Oh, say.

Dan tells me that Clark is still making noises about not coming down this year.

Now, did you talk to him?

Well, I mean this is ju-- It is just ludicrous, this whole thing over charades.

Good God.

Just put Clark on the same team with Jane.

She's the one who makes him so mad.

[ Beep ] Darlin', I-I gotta get on the stick.

King's Inn, fried shrimp.

Bye. Yeah?

-I've been holding Donisi on the line.

He's wasting away.

-Nancy, this whole damn pile of stuff in this orange folder, this can't be essential.

I will be signing till the crack of doom.

-Yes, Governor.

I was careful to put in only what has to go out tonight.


Donisi, uh, you know, we have this whole big award thing tonight.

I have to go back over to the mansion and tart myself up.

So you -- you meet me -- you meet me over there in an hour.

Now -- Now, I'm about out of my mind today.

Do not let me leave for the airport without my blue tote.

And you keep it with you. I got the -- I got the, uh, death penalty file in there.

I have to fly right back and meet with general counsel on it tonight.

Damn, this is gonna be the latest I ever phone in a decision.

So we're gonna split before the dinner, and don't let anybody engage me.

Just shovel me out and back to the mansion by 8:30.

And you just keep your nose in a book, Mr. Chatterbox.

First chance I'm gonna have to think all day is gonna be on the plane.

Now, what else?

Something else. Oh, yeah.

I-I-I can't be out of reach if the court has some action on this case.

So bring the air phone.

Bring the backup, too.

And -- And, uh -- And why don't you charge them this time just for laughs?


I'll see you over there.

Nancy, uh, do we still have shoe sizes for everyone in the outer office from that time I gave the sneakers?

-Uh, yeah. I got a list tucked away.

-Good. Make me a copy.

I don't suppose by any miracle Suzanne has faxed my speech.

-She says she's gonna fax it right to the El Paso hotel.

-Oh. Oh, she's gonna fax it over there.

Oh, well, that just fills me with confidence.

Damn it. I-I cannot wing that speech.

And plus, I'm supposed to talk about every one of those awardees.

What is the matter with her?

If she wasn't so darn good, I'd just pinch her head off.

Oh, so, uh, yeah.

Call over to the boot factory.

You know that girlfriend of mine's store in El Paso?

They're having a big sale.

And somebody make fresh coffee.

This stuff is gonna kill us all.

They'll find 30 people lying dead on the floor.

It's gonna look like Jonestown around here.

So where in God's name are my kids?

[ Beep ] -Governor, I've got your boot lady.

-Oh, and, Nancy, get me that son of a bitch on the Insurance Board.

He thinks he's gonna play me?

Yeah, just wait till I blow some smoke up his ass.

Hey, did you hear all that?

It's Ann.

Listen, darling, I am flying to a thing out your way, uh, tonight.

And we-- we're gonna drive right past your place.

So I thought that I would hit the sale and buy a big bunch of boots for my secretarial staff here.

Oh, I would say probably 8 -- 8, 10 pair.

No, I-I want to pick them out.

We're -- We're just gonna throw them in the trunk and fly them home.

Sure. No. No, I'm happy to say hi to everyone.

Just -- Just warn them.

I mean, we're going through like a dose of salts.

I can't linger.

Well -- Well, thanks a million.

We're -- We're gonna see you then.


[ Blows ] [ Beep ] -I've got Jaston Williams again, ma'am.

Susan Rieff says he's not gonna back off.

She got nowhere with him.


-He's been trying to catch you all morning, yesterday, too.

-Susan Rieff is supposed to be my junkyard dog.

I have to pick my battles.

I cannot airlift that nuclear dump away from his mama's town.

And plus, that is federal stuff, not state.

Damn it all.

Well, just tell him I love him.

And make -- And make time -- make time for him to come in.

I don't know what I'm going to do with him.

Ye gods, I-I don't have to worry about my enemies.

My friends are gonna kill me.

Come on, Ann.

You're gonna have to do better than that.

Uh, Nancy, tomorrow I want to see that, uh -- that brief on nuclear waste out in Hudspeth County.

But also, I-I want to see the provisions in our border treaty with Mexico that -- that, uh -- that protect the Rio Grande River.

-Yes, ma'am.

-Now, how in the world did this dumb fringe come loose off this flag here?

Have you been moonlighting as a drum majorette?

Oh, rats, I forgot.

Damn it, how can I be so stupid?

Listen, I have a task for -- for, um -- for, um, oh, that cute little round girl I like in Appointments.

Uh, Sandra.

Sandra Castellanos.

She was so sharp doing that, uh -- doing that interview the other day.

You know what?

Pick some cute trinket out of my good-job drawer.

And, um -- And -- And put it -- put it on her desk when you leave tonight.

Now, all those scraps of paper and cards I got from those folks I met at the Brownsville demonstration, sort them and, uh, put them on a list so I can write notes.

I just -- I never saw such a bunch of hardworking people.

Now, how good is Sandra's Spanish?

-Uh, serviceable.

I mean, Sandra was born here, Ann, in Seguin.



Well, she better brush up because -- because now she's their point person.

Uh, tell her -- tell her, uh, this one woman in particular -- her name is on the back of that colored saints prayer card you got there.

Sandra is to track her down today.

Uh, the woman brought her son with her, probably 9 years old.

And this -- this, uh -- this child lives in a house in the colonias, a house with no, uh -- no water, no electricity.

And I don't know how.

He is gonna be something.

We're putting an arm around this boy's shoulder.

I want him up here.

I want him up -- Okay, where is my blue binder?


I want him up here next week for Children's Day at the mansion with all those fat capital brats.

Nancy, I am looking at my calendar, and why in the hell is there nothing but 1,000 erasures on the 4th?

Damn it. Now call down to Scheduling.

They're supposed to keep this binder up to date.

Does anyone around here do their job?

And try Suzanne again.

I'm this close to sending somebody over there.

Yeah, she's probably got her chair up against the door by now.

-Okay, Governor, I have Sally for you from Scheduling.

Now, she's new, Ann, so don't make her -- -This is Ann Richards.

Say, are you the girl with the, uh -- with the green eyes and the bangs?

I want to suggest to you that you rethink the bangs.

You don't want to look like a little girl in an office situation.

It is hard enough for women to be taken seriously as it is.

Now, I'm here looking at my schedule.

And why in the world is the 4th of July empty?

Well, my God, now, if that was canceled, why wasn't I informed?

Now, there's a good idea for you.

And why wasn't something filled in from the wait list?


Uh, I see.

Well, I suppose it's darling that you all want to give me a day off.

[ Laughter ] What is your name again?


Well, Sally, you are new here, so let me bring you up to speed.

I did not get myself elected governor of the great state of Texas to spend this nation's most important holiday loafing with my family and sitting on my ass.

I need to earn my keep.

So just look around for some sweet little town.

And find me a parade, Sally.

[ Applause ] Nancy, what did I even do when I got in here from Johnson City this morning?

-You went right into the staff meeting.

Then you had a shake-and-bake with those guys from Northrup Grumman, uh, cut the ribbon on our daycare rooms.

Then the Catholic Bishop's emissary came.

Then -- -Then I had lunch at my desk.

I've -- I've just been here, just chained to this telephone ever since.

I don't believe I've been to the bathroom.

-Well, you would know, Governor.

-Oh, no. I just -- I hardly pay any attention.

Well, I am going to go now.

I will be right back.

And if my mama calls, don't tell her where I went.

She says going to the bathroom is a sign of weakness.

[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -♪ She got big red lips ♪ ♪ She got big brown eyes ♪ ♪ When she treats me right, it's a big surprise ♪ -Places, everyone.

Places, please, for the top of Act 2.

Places, Ms. Taylor.

Light 72, sound AA.1. Go.

Holland enter, and spot.


-Well, I am a new woman.

[ Cheers and applause ] Man.

Man, there is nothing like being swarmed by 30 little girls from Brownie Troop 526 in a four-stall ladies' room to put things in perspective.

-Governor, the President needs you to get back to him.

What do you want to do?

-Well, let's go ahead and call him.

Oh, hey, uh, Nancy, look up that documentary guy, Tommy something, who did the story.

Now, wasn't I supposed to phone him in a quote after the pro-choice march?

Weren't you supposed to remind me?

If I have missed his deadline, I'm gonna blame you.

-I'll find him. It's a Boston station.

Governor, I have the President.

-Well, you just can't get enough of me, can you?

Yes, I am.

I am as strong as mustard gas.

What's up?

Well, I would put cash money on a barrel to see Barbara Jordan keep her cool around Clarence Thomas.

But, uh, I don't -- I don't know that, uh -- that she could go on the Supreme Court.

Well, no, just -- just 'cause her health is so bad and -- and, uh -- and what with the wheelchair and all.

Oh, no, Bill, she's always in it now.

She still does her ethics seminars for me, though.

Let me send Jane out to Onion Creek to talk with her.

Jane's the only one I got who's smart enough to go.

No. Yes, no.

It is. It is a grand notion.

I will get back to you.

Thank you, Mr. President.

I think Barbara might have too much sense to go on the Supreme Court.

Uh, Nancy, find Jane and ask her to telephone me tonight, um, around, oh, 11:00.

Tell her to hold on to her hat.


The reporter's on, and the deadline is today.


Sometimes I just can't even believe how sharp I am.

Hi, Tommy.

Well, no, I-I remember men who care about choice.

I do. You want -- You want to -- You want to take like a 45-second quote, right?

Okay. Hit record.

Oh, honey, this is a subject on which I am always loaded for bear.

Are -- Are you ready?

Here we go.

I think it is really important not only that we talk about a woman's right to choose, but what about this current attitude towards children who are already on this Earth?

They say, 'There's no money to help the children you already have.

But, tsk, tsk, tsk, we're gonna force you to have some more you can't afford.'

[ Cheers and applause ] And -- And -- And listen here to me.

Americans want to take care of their parents and their grandparents.

But these right-wingers tell us, 'If you can't pay for doctors or nursing homes, that is tough.

You just take your elderly parents back in.'

And we say, 'But wait a minute.

This is 1993.

Everyone in our home works.

There isn't anybody home to take care of our parents, and the government should live up to the promise that their Social Security taxes paid for.'

How was that, Tommy? Do you have what you need?

Well -- Well -- Well, thank -- thank you, young man.

And, um -- And, Tommy, thank you for what you do.

[ Beep ] -Ann, I've got your son. Can you speak to him now?

Dan says he's only on a teeny break.

And then, um, David Miller needs to talk to you urgently.

There's a problem.

Oh, boy.

You have to pay for one of the planes he put you on.

It can't be a gift.

He doesn't want to come up here to see you.

He's too scared.

So it seems he's got to cover the expense today, Ann.

-Today? Well, just shoot me now.

Just put him through when I'm done with Dan.

Brother, it's your mama.

Listen, um, I need you to check who all wants to go fishing.

Well, I have to call down and reserve boats.

You let me know tomorrow a.m.

So, uh -- So now, uh, Danny, it's your turn to bring the ham this year.

No, I'm getting Clark to do the turkey.

No, I'm not gonna ask Cecile to cook meat when she doesn't eat it and doesn't like handling it, for heaven's sake.

She's gonna make pies like she always does.

Now, Dan, when we play charades... ...for God's sake, quit tormenting Clark and give him something a person can act.

We have almost lost him over this.

I don't know why you are so hard on him.

I wish I had a baby brother who adored me.

Oh, Dan, don't test my patience.

Spare me the drama.


Okay, son.


[ Beeping ] David Miller, this is the boss of the applesauce.

I understand you don't want to see me.

What's the deal?

Well, you've got to be joking.


I'm not gonna pay that.

Oh, get back.

How could this man lend me his planes when he's got a kid in jail?

Is he out of his mind?

Well, did -- did you not vet this guy?

Well, then this is just the biggest screw-up of your young life, isn't it?

I can't even believe this.

My -- My dealings have always been impeccable.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Damn it.

Man, oh, man, I am not a rich woman.

And this is like more than a month's pay.

And I-I cannot go to campaign for funds for this.

I'm not about to drag the sack to donors who are generous to me because they believe that I am good for Texas and then tell them that I need this -- this whole big bunch of more money because this kid that I stupidly gave an important job to screwed up.

David Miller... are you crying?

Quit that.

Nobody's dead.

Now, uh -- Now what is this amount?

$8,700 and what?

Oh, yeah, no, no, don't let's forget that last two bits.

I'm gonna leave this check on my desk.

I'm taking off for El Paso.

And I don't want to see you, either.

Nancy, call over to the bank and warn them a big check is coming through for eight grand and change and they should -- they should just -- Well, I-I don't even know.

Just slide it over from savings, I guess.

-Ann, your mother's neighbor called.

It seems Ona is up on the roof cleaning out the gutters, and this woman is just beside herself.

-[ Laughs ] Well, I bet that Mama thinks the rain is gonna take out all those 19 set periwinkles she just planted.

So just -- just, uh -- just tell her that, uh -- say to the lady that there ain't nothing to do but just leave her to it.

-Alright, Governor. I'll tell her.

-As if falling off a house would hurt my mama.

[ Laughter ] Nancy, call that fool David Miller and, um, ask his shoe size.

And put him on the boot list, too.

And if he asks you why you want it, you just tell him he ain't on a need-to-know basis around here.

Anything from Suzanne?

-I'm sorry, Ann, no.

-Why do I even ask?

Wh-What -- What is the matter with me that I just sit here and continue to endure this year after year?

Suzanne, now, you know perfectly well that I am walking out the door in one minute.

And if you don't get that speech to me over in El Paso, I'm gonna let all those people down.

And plus, I'm gonna look like a horse's ass on the news tonight.

So my question for you is this.

Do you want to kill me?

Just give me one reason, one reason why I shouldn't just hire any one of those boys out of Washington or New York who can write like crazy and who would kill a puppy for your job.

I'm the...governor of Texas.

[ Cheers and applause ] And I-I half-wrote that speech myself.

All you had to do was type it -- Well, to add insult to injury, your stupid answering machine just cut me off.

Suzanne, when I think of the opportunities to shine this job has given you, I just marvel that you don't spring up in the morning and rush to your desk in gratitude.

You're just sitting there, aren't you?

Yeah, you're drinking a warm beer.

And you're thinking, 'Oh, she's gonna get over this just like she always does.'

Well, don't count on it, Suzanne.

That's all I have to say.

Just don't count on it.

Oh, my God.

I need an AA meeting.

If I had the Big Book, I'd kill her with it.

Oh, my God, look at the time.

Nancy, I haven't called all my kids yet.

Where is that Clark?

Well, hi.

It's your mother.

Well, Clark, yeah, I-I heard that.

But as the kids say, that -- that doesn't work for me.

Oh, come on.

You have to come.

You have to fish with us.

And, uh, Clark, listen, it's your turn to do the turkey this year.


No, Dan is -- Dan is already doing the ham.

Oh, Lord. Well, okay, then.

Order one from Rovan's.

But, boy, you'd better call them right now.

Oh, you know what? Never mind.

I will cook the turkey myself.

Clark, get over it.

Charades is just a game.

Nobody could have done the Rob Lowe sex tapes.

I-I don't know why you get so upset.

Everybody knows that you're the smartest person in the room.

Well, okay, then.

Get yourself on Jane's team and you could be mean as a snake, too.


Move on.



Love you.


Nancy, call over to, uh, General Counsel's office and find Talbot.

Find Bill Cryer, too.

He -- He's gonna have to write a press release big-time.

-Governor, Talbot called a little bit ago saying he was just then leaving the Attorney General's.

He knows to speak with you regarding tonight.

I told him you already had the death packet with you.

-Well, okay, then.

But where is he?

I mean, what's the matter with him?

He knows we -- we have to do this.

I'm getting on an airplane.

Why must I ride herd on everyone?

Bill Cryer, well, now, fancy finding the press secretary at his desk.

Listen, I hope you haven't got some new girl setting her hair on fire over you.

I need you tonight at the mansion about 8:30 to talk about this, uh, capital case.

Right now I've got a feeling in my gut I just might stay this guy's sentencing.

If I do, our -- our -- our press release is gonna have to be ready.

Cryer, why in hell haven't you gotten one of your hotshot Pulitzer reporter buddies to do a big piece in the newspaper about what governors can do or can't do with these cases?

Why aren't you on top of this?

People don't even know what a stay is.

There's only 30 days. They're calling me.

They're begging me to give a pardon.

They have absolutely no idea that -- that, uh, only the board has that power, not that the board ever would do it.

And if the public is just so in the dark, I just -- I feel like I'm -- I'm -- I'm just pushing a rope in front of me.

Well, you ain't making your presence felt 'cause I can't catch a break with the press.

Right now on the news, they're saying, uh, uh, uh, 'Governor Richards did not take Mother Theresa's call.'

Well, my God, I mean, I was giving a speech.

It's not like I hung up on her.

Well, you get started writing the -- the -- the shortest statement that we can make.

And you better write it so my mama can understand it.

[ Beep ] -Ann, it's David Talbot.

-Oh, yeah. Now, don't let him go anywhere.

Uh, now, Billy, about my pitching that fit at the airport yesterday.

I guess I flamed your ass.

I suppose I owe you an apology.

Well, you ain't gonna get one.

I'll see you over there. Bye.


Talbot, I hired you, uh, as my general counsel 'cause you are one smart lawyer.

And God knows I love you to death.

But I read this very long summary of yours and I thought you were supposed to make me understand better, not make me want to pull my hair out.

Look, Talbot, you are the lawyer and I am the governor.

You have to explain the -- the options this guy has before the law.

And you have to recommend, for heaven's sake.

And why on Earth would you cite all this whole bunch of cases as if -- as if I knew what all these precedents were?

Are you writing for the or are you helping me wade through this -- this -- this mare's nest?

[ Crowd shouting in distance ] Look, I-I don't want you to be sorry.

I just want you to do your job.

Now, Talbot, listen, it's getting a little crazy over here.

The amnesty people are doing a die-in on the Capitol steps.

And, uh, I think you better come in the side door.

No, I'm not kidding. They will know who you are.

Yeah. I got every Catholic bishop in the state plus all -- all those nuns from that poor nuns' convent delivering me letters today, just begging me to give this man a pardon.

Uh, uh, uh, Mother Theresa called to -- to lean on me.

Well, from India, I guess.

And now they -- they just brought me this letter from -- who is this here -- from the, um -- from the papal nuncio with a message from the Pope.

I mean, it's got seals and ribbons on it.

It looks like a Christmas present.

Hey, think of that.

Talbot, the Pope has an opinion on this case.

And you don't.

You say that.

You say that every time.

But if I take it as a given, someone actually ending up on death row means that -- that, uh -- that every avenue of the law has already been exhausted, what the hell am I doing here?

Well, that is small comfort.

Alright, uh, I need you tonight at the mansion at about 8:30.

John Hannah will be there, Bill Cryer, of course.

We need to seriously look at this.

I'm not okay with it.


Yes, I am.

I am considering a stay.

Look, the guy started out in life with no chance.

The whole deal is just pitiful.

But if his lawyer was so negligent, how can it be that -- that there's no way to -- to introduce that now?

Well, this is just a quagmire.

Texas can't go on like this.

Truth is, I find myself so affected by these nuns forgiving him.

You know, that old girl lived in that convent more than half a damn century.

Those sisters were -- were all she had.

That's what they wrote me -- 'We are her family.'

And they knew the guy, just some pasty-faced ne'er-do-well, some dim-eyed kid who slouched around their neighborhood.

They want me to stop this.

They forgive him.

Well, I'm just gonna tell you right now I'm gonna do this thing.

And you watch.

More people will protest the stay than give one damn -- We just -- just put him down like he's a-an animal.


No, 8:30.

-Governor, are you off?

-Do we have any cookies out there?

-No, you ate them all.

-I'm not taking any calls.

Man, I have got to get ready.

-Well, Ann, I've got Lily waiting.

She's so excited about something.

I did tell her you were here.


-Lily belle!

Well, how is my nearly perfect grandbaby?

You did?

Well, I-I expect you to be the smartest one.

Did -- Did they give you a prize?

Oh, 'Charlotte's Web.' I love that book.

Uh, now, you know you're coming with me and, um -- and Barbara Jordan to the Lady Longhorns game?

Well, no, no, now, wait.

Now, we can play gin rummy, too.

But now, Lily, listen to me.

You only pick up the face cards if you really need them, not just 'cause they're pretty, 'cause you -- you -- you're only gonna get stuck with all those high points.

You -- You understand?

Well, of course I beat you.

Your mammy's a shark.

Now, uh, Lily, I just -- I have to go work.

But I do need your mama.

I love you!

How are you, darling?

Well, shoot, Cecile, what do you expect?

You're the mother of new twins.

You're certifiably insane.

But, listen, ain't nobody gonna give you no blue ribbons for working yourself to death.

You need some help.

Now, uh, darling... can you do the pies?

Oh, golly, that is fabulous.

You're my star.

Yeah. No, no.

Clark is -- Clark is coming.

He's still pretty cranky, though.

If -- If we just pair Clark with Jane, it's gonna be fine.

No, I-I'm jumping on my broom, too.

Well, we're gonna see you down there.



I am out of here.

Everything waits till tomorrow.

Oh, God, I just wish I had a LuAnn platter to go.

-Governor, I have Bob Bullock screaming on the line that you were supposed to call him today and he needs you to get on the horn right now.

He says he isn't gonna talk to any of your hairy-legged zoo girls.

-Boy, no day would be complete without a shot from Bullock.

Uh, Nancy, the orange folder stuff is all signed.

I'm gonna leave a check for -- for, uh -- for David Miller on, uh, my desk.

I'm putting it under the blue armadillo.

And you tell Bob Bullock that he can stick a broom up my ass and I will sweep out the office for him, but I cannot take another call.

[ Cheers and applause ] -Alright, Governor, I'll be happy to give Bob your message.

♪♪♪ -Oh.

Well, I mean, can you imagine if I just left these behind?

Oh, no, I'm -- I'm just getting so forgetful.

Soon I'm gonna be able to hide my own Easter eggs.

[ Laughter ] After four years of this mad intensity came re-election time.

Even though my popularity in the polls was stronger than ever it was, I did not win my second term.

Now, everybody and his brother-in-law had opinions as to why.

But, uh, rehashing all that crappy dirty-trick stuff just didn't interest me much.

I'll tell you what, though.

If I got turned out over my concealed weapons veto -- without which every Tom, Dick, and Harry could just walk into your home or your place of business packing heat -- then I say so be it and sayonara.

More guns in people's pockets was going to mean more people dead.

There was no compromise to be had.

[ Cheers and applause ] Now -- Now, I-I-I did tell them -- I-I told them that I-I might could consider a law that let guys carry guns hanging from a chain around their neck, 'cause that way we can say, 'Look out!

He's got a gun!'

And the idea -- the idea of women carrying guns around for protection.

Give me a break, Gladys.

There ain't a woman in Texas could find a gun in her purse!

All that -- All that aside, where was the sense in looking back?

It was over.

My -- My little granddaughter Lily asked me -- she says, 'Mammy, does this mean that -- that you don't have a job?'

I said, 'Darling, it means everyone you know doesn't have a job.'

[ Laughs ] I-I have to confess, I wasn't gonna miss the stress.

But, um, I-I did miss the, um -- the children in the classrooms, those kids who used to grab me around the knees.

And, um, I think of, uh, the old people who really need a voice when they're trapped in wheelchairs in dirty nursing homes.

The person who holds this office really must have a conscience to know that how they direct this government dramatically affects the lives of real people who are counting on them.

[ Cheers and applause ] The good news is that we had rung a bell they could never un-ring.

More important than legislation, more important than -- than vetoes and the bully pulpit was our promise that we would put together a government of citizens that for once looked like the population of the state, where there would be no persons in all of Texas who did not see others serving in office who looked just like them.

About 3,000 appointments to office, many of them female, Hispanic, Black, gay, uh, Asian, disabled, Republican.

Oh, yeah.

Oh, yeah. Oh -- Oh, yeah.

Oh, yeah, I did.

We -- We didn't care about any flak.

We did what we wanted.

And we didn't look back.

And I'll tell you what, an awful lot of folks were just terrifically proud of their great state.

And, um, on a personal note, let me just say you haven't lived till you've been governor of Texas.

[ Cheers and applause ] Following an old tradition, I marked a passage in the Good Book for the incoming Governor.

Amos 5:15.

'Hate the evil and love the good.

And establish justice in the court.'

♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ I loved that when the new governor asked my comptroller, John Sharp, whether he wanted to be called Mr. Comptroller or Mr. Sharp and -- and how had Governor Richards addressed him, John said, 'She just called me darling.'

[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] Now, y'all, while it was the greatest honor of my life to serve Texas as its governor and just -- just wonderful to, um -- to come to know its people, being governor was my job.

It wasn't Walking out of the governor's office, um, I was 60.

I had no house, no big old white car anymore, and no cash to speak of.

I thought, 'Well, shoot.'

No, in those -- in those wee hours, I did wonder if my age-old fear was gonna come true and I'd end up in a trailer in my daughter Ellen's driveway.

[ Laughter ] Well, you -- you laugh, but, no, you'd -- you'd be surprised how many women feel like that.

But, uh, before I could open a bait-and-tackle stand -- seemed like a good idea at the time -- lo and behold, half the civilized world was at my door.

I mean, I-I can't even tell you all these TV talk shows and the boards I was asked to sit on and, uh, oh, the speeches I was invited to give.

You know, my friend Cathy Bonner, uh, always says that -- that I was born under a special star.

And sometimes I think that's true, 'cause listen to what happened.

Out of the blue comes along these hotshot guys, big-deal consultants, don't you know, who invited me to come and play with them.

They figured that I knew how the world works.

But they also needed a person who just for starters could get anyone in the country on the telephone.

Well, yeah.

So, uh -- So that -- that was nice.

Who could complain?

But, wait, it gets better.

It seems like my seventh decade was gonna be a whole new carnival ride in my life, 'cause, good God, can you believe this?

They asked me to open an office for them in New York City.

So, hell, there I went -- from a tree-shaded capital, from piney woods, rough rivers, and hills, over to a world of glass and steel and impossible heights.

Why -- Why, from my window, I could almost see the curvature of the Earth.

And all those people -- I was terrified.

I was thrilled.

And, man, did I hear America singing.


Sandra, check and see if Suzanne e-mailed that draft.

I'm gonna have to take a stick to her.

Oh, you know what? Just call her.

Use the fax line.

Maybe she won't see it's us.

Now, Sandra, this itinerary here for Chicago -- Google me up, uh, whoever else is on the dais at this dinner.

Oh, and call over to that Disney guy and ask what Sunday I can buy five good seats for the 'Lion King' matinee.

Man, this is gonna be like my seventh time at that show.

I could play Simba's mama by now.

Ask for six seats, a-and you come again, too.

Man, do you believe we get to do stuff like this?

Oh, well, would you look at this crossword Bill Clinton sent?

Did it with a fountain pen, of course.

Let me just make this quick little -- This man is the biggest showoff I ever met in my entire life.

Hey, there, Bill.

I -- Oh, oh, no, no.

I-I got it.

And the fact that I am a clue in this -- I know it's kind of moot -- I know perfectly well you only sent it so I would take note you worked it in ink.

I love you, Bill.

Well, we'll see you when the creek goes down.

Bye. Oh, uh, Bill, wait.

Hang on a sec.

No, no, uh, no, I just -- I just forgot to ask you.

Seriously, listen, you're gonna know the answer to this.

So, now... If you -- If you are born in Arkansas and you get married in Arkansas but then you move to Texas and you get a divorce, are you still brother and sister?

[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] [ Telephone ringing ] Yeah?


My stars. Hi.

Uh, so look now, this speech, it's in good enough shape.

I'm gonna switch it to Brandeis.

And then we're gonna save that, uh, First Amendment stuff for NPR.

It's better for them anyway.

But the -- the way we close is too drab.

It's -- It's too abstract.

And it is so dark.

I'm just afraid those poor people in the audience are gonna slash their wrists.

No, just find some good joke or something in my file and stick it in there.

But, now, when we're talking about Katrina and how here it is a year later, nothing has happened, I want to change the focus from us complaining about the government to looking at our part in it.

I mean, we all do this, you know.

We all whine and complain -- 'The government is horrible.

They don't do this and they don't do that.'

How -- I complain about 'they.'

And I was a governor.

So use the line we have to quit whining and start participating.

My Lord, Suzanne, half the country doesn't even vote.

Okay, start with this.


Think of all those people from around the globe who leave everything behind -- their homelands, their families, all they have -- to come to our country, where they can vote.

Put that in.

And then, um, jump to something like, uh -- jump to something like, 'Let's look at the big picture.

What will they say of us?

What will they say of our time, that here in -- in the land of the free, voting somehow fell out of fashion?'

And, listen, it's -- it's not that good things always happen when good people vote.

But it is darn sure true that bad things happen when they don't vote.

And voting is the least of it.

I-I don't understand people who turn their back on it all, because the government is the most pervasive institution in our lives.

And if you don't participate, well, you're just letting other people make some big old decisions for you.

I'm gonna cut to the chase.

The government isn't 'they.'

The government is you.

It is me. It is us.

And sometimes us not at our very best.

Public servants work for you.

You have the power to call them out and call them down.

You hire them. You can fire them.

If they are racist, if they are sexist, if they are wrong, you must call them out.

And instead of complaining about 'they,' why don't some of you infiltrate the enemy, you know, become one of them for real.

True public service requires a passion.

And I know there are always just -- just those few who have the grit for it.

Uh, a lot of you women won't even contemplate it 'cause you see politics as -- as, uh, so dirty.

Well, I wish you'd think it over.

Hell, girls, we've seen far dirtier fights in the PTA.

And -- And besides which, the nation needs you.

Simply viewed, while our men are great fighters, women have a talent for -- for bringing consensus, you know.

It's all those hours at the dinner table trying to make sure everyone has their say and gets a piece of the pie, too.

For me and a lot of public servants, it is almost a calling, not from on high, but from within, that in our core, we feel we can make life better for people in a way beyond our own families.

But for all us citizens, men, women, we're -- we're all in this together.

We should all pull together.

That way maybe we got a shot.

And anyway, why should your life be just about you?

[ Wind howling ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ I never got to give that speech.

But you remember what John Lennon sung to us about how life happens while we're busy making other plans?

Well, my plans were pulled up short with a bad turn in my health.

Now, do you know that just the word 'cancer' is so potent, people even look down when you say it?

So here was, uh, another battle in my life.

And I-I ain't never run from a fight yet.

I was gonna approach it the way I did anything -- hit the gas.

But before you get some fancy idea that I was a big hero about it, let me tell you, I am sure that I cried my share.

Well, shoot, nobody wants to go.

But, uh, you -- you know what they say about battles.

You can't win 'em all.

Now, this is gonna sound funny to you all, I-I mean, coming, uh, from me, but the memorials and the funeral that my old staff and my friends and my family pulled together in about one day were just so fabulous.

I-I-I mean there is President Clinton speaking in the Capitol Rotunda with me under a flag.

Oh, for God's sake.

No. I mean, it was like they were planting a general or something.

And then this -- this whole other deal where Hillary spoke with -- with, seriously, no, thousands and thousands of people.

And there was gospel singing and, uh -- and big speeches and stories.

And at the very end, my grown-up grandbaby Lily spoke and was, I have to admit it, entirely perfect.

Yeah. There was, uh -- There was -- There was this poem that Jane recited that long ago I had stumbled on and I really loved, and I casually tossed it to Suzanne and said, 'Save this for me,' you know, in case I needed it for a funeral.

Of course, I wasn't thinking it'd be It has lines like, um, 'Call me by my old familiar name.'

Love that.

And, 'Whatever we were to each other, well, that we still are.'

And then, um... Oh, yeah.

'I am somewhere very near.'

Well, now, uh, traditionally, you know, you're supposed to close these things with a pearl of wisdom.

But what do I know?

Look, kids, the here and now is all you have.

And if you play it right, it's all you need.

I wish for you that you would value the love of, uh, your family and your friends as if your life depends on it, because it does, that you would take that chance on your dreams and bet on yourself.

After all, you've got to go out on a limb 'cause that's where the fruit is.

Well, uh, thanks a lot.

It's -- Gosh, it's -- it's -- it's so good to see you.

It's good to be seen.

Well, God bless you, and, Daddy, you were right.

I was smart.

And I could do anything I wanted to do.

And, Mama... Well, you got to meet the weatherman!

[ Cheers and applause ] [ 'Imagine' plays ] ♪♪♪ -♪ Imagine there's no heaven ♪ ♪ It's easy if you try ♪ ♪ No hell below us ♪ ♪ Above us only sky ♪ ♪ Imagine all the people ♪ ♪ Living for today ♪ ♪ Imagine there's no country ♪ ♪ It isn't hard to do ♪ [ 'Across the Great Divide' plays ] -♪ I've been walking ♪ ♪ In my sleep ♪ ♪ Counting troubles ♪ ♪ Instead of counting sheep ♪ ♪ Where the years went ♪ ♪ I can't say ♪ ♪ I just turned around ♪ ♪ And they've gone away ♪ ♪ It's gone away ♪ ♪ Yesterday ♪ ♪ Now I find myself on the mountainside ♪ ♪ It's where the rivers change direction ♪ -To find out more about this and other 'Great Performances' programs, visit

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