HBO Celebrates Ann Richards With 'All About Ann' So Here's a Quick History Crash Course
Some women are so amazing they can inspire both a Broadway play and an HBO documentary. And Ann Richards certainly deserves HBO's (and everyone else's) attention. A Texas governor with a silver-tongue and undying ambition, she rejected the notion that she ought to do the traditional housewife thing and instead set her sights on changing the face of politics for women forever. Richards might have lost her battle with esophageal cancer in 2006 at 73 years old, but her dry wit and sheer awesomeness continue to live on.
Before All About Ann, the documentary that will take us inside her life and political career, airs Monday at 9 PM ET, let's learn a bit about what makes Richards such an incredible female figure — not only in politics, but in life in general. Richards was so unbelievably cool.
She poked fun at George Bush Sr. every chance she got.
Richards might have been a little intimidated to give the keynote speech at the 1988 Democratic convention, but she never let them see her sweat — least of all George H.W. Bush, her competitor.
When she took the stage, Richards said, “I’m delighted to be here with you this evening, because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like.” She went on to mention that he was born with “a silver foot in his mouth.”
Did he need ice for that burn? Yes, he did indeed.
She struggled with alcoholism and was reluctant to join AA in case she lost her wit.
Richards may have had a drinking problem, but she finally beat her alcoholic tendencies in the ‘80s, according to Legacy. And although she eventually joined AA, Richards admitted that she was a bit hesitant, lest she run the risk of losing her quick wit.
“I have seen the very bottom of life. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be funny anymore,” Richards admitted. “I just knew that I would lose my zaniness and my sense of humor. But I didn’t. Recovery turned out to be a wonderful thing.”
She took up riding motorcycles in her 50s.
Your kids are grown, you’ve already served as governor in your home state, and things are starting to get a little boring. What do you do? Buy a Harley and learn to ride, if you’re Ann Richards. She took up the hobby at nearly 60 years old, simply because she needed to “do something kind of jazzy,” according to CNN. Um, yeah, that’ll do it.
She made politics more accessible for women everywhere.
“Women, it was painfully clear, weren’t going to be allowed to use their brains, and I certainly wanted to use mine,” Richards so famously said. And use her brain she did — Richards’ career spanned over three decades, during which she tirelessly campaigned for women’s rights. And appropriately enough, her daughter Cecile Richards later went on to become the president of Planned Parenthood.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did,” Richards said. “She just did it backwards and in high heels.”