There is one star on Texas’ flag but many in its firmament. This portfolio of 34 portraits showcases Texans who skyrocketed to celebrity or success. Many personify the promises implicit in Texas’ very name: bigness (basketball great Hakeem Olajuwon), likability (ex-governor Ann Richards), power (politico Bob Bullock), wealth (billionaire Ross Perot), strength (boxer George Foreman), independence (rocker Janis Joplin), and resolve (actor Tommy Lee Jones). But even lesser luminaries gain that extra little fillip of fame that comes from being a Texan.
These are people on the move, but they all managed to sit (or stand) still long enough to have their picture taken. The photographers—including Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, and Keith Carter—often had star power themselves, as well as a flair for disarming their subjects and distilling qualities beyond the merely physical.
Images from the Twenty-fifth anniversary issue are not available online.
The Stories Behind the Pictures
Actor Tommy Lee Jones by Andrew Eccles
Arkansas, “The Fugitive” October 1993
I’M NOT SURE I’ VE SPENT A DAY ANY MORE enjoyable than the one I spent with Tommy Lee Jones for a piece called “The Fugitive.” The movie of the same name would prove to be Jones’s breakthrough, the one that bumped him up that last notch from serious actor to Academy award–winning star, and he agreed to allow us to catch him at that moment, in freeze-frame. Still, I was nervous: I was unaccustomed to interviewing celebrities and had heard that he despised journalists.
What I found was a courtly, solicitous man who reminded me more of a West Texas cowboy than a Hollywood movie star. Jones allowed me to watch him rewrite script pages and film his scenes. We went shopping for folk art, ate Memphis barbecue, and tooled around the banks of the Mississippi in his chauffeur-driven car while he riffed on acting and fame. Initially, he’d told me that having a writer follow him around was “unseemly,” but he seemed to get used to it pretty fast.
Photographer Andrew Eccles’ experience was a little different. Jones also reminded him of a character out of the West—an extremely vigilant sheriff—and Eccles felt like a stranger in his town. “He hates to have his picture taken,” Jones’s then-wife had told me, a fact that no one but Jones would communicate to Eccles. At one point during the intense, competitive session, Eccles was stung by a wasp. “Tommy Lee stared me in the eyes,” he says. “I refused to flinch.” In the end, Eccles got the cover shot, and Jones had to admit he was happy with the image. “Tommy Lee wrote me a beautiful thank-you note,” he says. “He won, but I won too.” Mimi Swartz
Musician and Mystery Novelist Kinky Friedman by Will van Overbeek
Kerrville, “Long Live the Kink” August 1988
“NUDIE, THE FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD TAILOR, made this coat years ago for a mysterious man who ordered it but never picked it up,” Kinky Friedman says of this portrait. “Bob Dylan and I went into his store in 1976 while we were with the Rolling Thunder Revue, and Bob bought it. He wore it a little bit, not even out of the store, and then gave it to me. I then had about seven years of bad luck, both personally and professionally, with many people I knew going to Jesus in rapid succession.
So around 1990, I sold the coat at auction at Sotheby’s in London. It sold for much less than it should have—a jacket made by Nudie and worn by Bob and myself. It was a big disappointment to the Kinkster, not a financial pleasure. It went for something in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars, and most of that was leeched away by my homosexual lover, Cleve Hattersley. Later I told Bob that I’d sold it, and he thought it was very bad karma. I have no idea where it is today. Last I heard, it was hanging at the Hard Rock Cafe in Tel Aviv.” Evan Smith
IN THE PAST DECADE, ANDREW ECCLES OF New York City has become one of the country’s best-regarded photographers of show business personalities. Dozens of magazines, including Texas Monthly