We moved to Waxahachie in the early forties, when I was about ten years old. I was a seriously dyslexic child, and no one quite knew what dyslexia was in those days. People just thought I wasn’t too swift. And my way out of it was drawing. It was something that I could do that could hold my attention, and it made me feel a sense of accomplishment and pleasure. So I had this great ambition to be an animated cartoonist. When my high school principal, who was a lovely man, found out that I was applying to the University of Texas, he came to me and said, “Please don’t do it. You will never make it.” I really only made it through high school because my mother played bridge with my high school teachers, and it would have broken up the bridge game. Miraculously enough, I was accepted to the university on probation, and it was there that I was able to flourish. UT turned out to be probably the best place in the whole world that I could have gone.

Writer-director Robert Benton, who was born in Dallas, won two Academy awards for 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer. His fifteenth feature, Twilight, starring Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, and Gene Hackman, opens nationwide on March 6.