Remembering the famous people I’ve known

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : November 4, 2011

Everyone knows someone who is famous. I want to share several people from my past that “Made it Big.” Some of these you will readily recognize and perhaps not, but I have some fond memories of each of them.

Hank Lockin was a country singer who had a radio show every Saturday morning on radio station KLEE in downtown Houston. I would ride the streetcar into town every Saturday to sit in the studio as he sang. We soon became friends and he inspired me to sing, in spite of my stuttering.

Dan Rather and I went through school together, and at Reagan High School in Houston we played football together. Dan was a linebacker and I was a defensive halfback; my position is now called “cornerback.” Dan went on to Sam Houston State and then became a TV announcer on Channel 11 in Houston. He later became the anchorman on CBS Nightly News.

Larry Gatlin and I became friends while at the U. of H. he and his brothers were already singing as a group and were very good. His brothers left the group, and Larry went on to stardom both as a country singer and on Broadway. I see him now and then on Channel 231 on “The Country Family Reunion.”

Larry and Joan Hovis, brother and sister, sang all through high school. In every “Talent Show,” they brought the house down. Joan and I were the same age, and Larry was two years younger. Joan became a medical missionary, and Larry went to U. of H. for two years and then took off for Hollywood. He landed a role in the TV show “Hogan’s Heroes,” and later had parts in several Andy Griffith shows.

Richard “Racehorse” Haynes was wild as a deer all through school. He spent more time in the principal’s office than he did in the classroom. He got his nickname for riding a motorcycle through an underpass on North Main Street in Houston. He did that standing up on the seat, with both arms raised as high as he could reach, and the throttle wide open. But after high school, Racehorse went to college and then to law school. He went on to become a successful and widely known criminal attorney. He was the defense attorney in the infamous Bass murder case in Ft. Worth, Texas.

I share no details, but in our living room is an invitation to the Inauguration of George Herbert Walker Bush as President of the United States of America. The invitation was not accompanied with airline tickets and hotel reservations, therefore we did not attend. We would not have gone anyway because my wife will not even get close to an airplane, let along get in one.

I first met President Bush and his wife, Barbara (she is a fantastic lady), when I was campaigning for Governor Price Daniel. When their son George was running for governor, I supported him on the basis of his mother and father.