IN TEXAS OCTOBER IS THE FAIREST MONTH. Besides the invigorating weather, there’s also the State Fair, which lures tens of thousands of visitors to Dallas’ Fair Park. Presiding over the revelry, as always, is Big Tex, who this year marks his forty-fifth anniversary as the fair’s official greeter and best-known landmark. Big Tex is the greatest “Tex” of all time—at least in terms of size: He’s 52 feet tall and wears size 284W–185L Dickie’s. But plenty of other celebrities named Tex also loom large. Some, like Big Tex, are native sons (but rarely daughters; it’s perceived as a manly moniker); others eagerly embraced their adopted state. Some Tex-ized themselves; others were christened when they moved away. In recognition of them all, we offer a celebration of Texes, our Texes—and some other states’ too.
Boxing promoter George Lewis “Tex” Rickard, once a Texas cowboy, backed Jack Dempsey and other champions. Born 1871 in Kansas City, Missouri; died 1929.
Country music legend Tex Ritter recorded such hits as “High Noon” and appeared in 85 movies. He never used his given names: Woodard Maurice. Born 1905 in Murvaul; died 1974.
Artist-animator Frederick Bean “Tex” Avery created Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck. Born 1908 in Taylor; died 1980.
John Reagan “Tex” McCrary, with his wife, actress Jinx Falkenburg, hosted radio broadcasts and television shows in the forties and fifties. Born 1910 in Calvert.
Bandleader and jazzman Gordon Lee “Tex” Beneke started out as a tenor saxman with Glenn Miller’s orchestra. Born 1914 in Fort Worth.
Sportswriter Hamilton Bee “Tex” Maule was once a fixture at the Dallas Morning News. Born 1915 in Ojus, Florida; died 1981.
“Tex” is a diminutive for Texas E. Schramm, the former general manager of the Dallas Cowboys; his parents were loyal expatriates. Born 1920 in Los Angeles.
Fort Worth oilman William Alvin “Tex” Moncrief, Jr., is worth some $300 million. Born 1920 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Charles Denton “Tex” Watson, a member of the Manson family, is serving a life term for the 1969 Sharon Tate murders in Hollywood. Born 1945 in Collin County.
Republican Harold Joseph “Tex” Lezar, once a Nixon speechwriter, ran—futilely—against Bob Bullock in the 1994 race for lieutenant governor. Born 1948 in Dallas.
Former boxer Randall “Tex” Cobb now works as a character actor in TV and film. Born 1954 in Orange.