When a funeral director named Bernie Tiede shot and killed a wealthy widow in Carthage, Texas, townspeople were sympathetic toward the widely loved Bernie and indifferent toward the murder victim. The twisted tale became the subject of a Richard Linklater film, which played a part in Bernie's recent release from prison. Bob talks with Texas Monthly's Skip Hollandsworth, whose 1998 story about Bernie Tiede inspired the movie.
BOB: In May, a man named Bernie Tiede [TEE-dee] was released from a Texas prison after 15 years of a life sentence for murder. In 1996, he shot and killed his wealthy patron, a widowed bank owner named Marjorie Nugent. The victim was generally disliked in their hometown of Carthage, Texas -- where the cheerful and generous Tiede, by contrast, was universally beloved. Why the neighborly funeral director would murder his Sugar Mommy intrigued not only the citizens of Carthage, but also film director Richard Linklater, who eventually made a movie about the crime, titled Bernie.
new clip: bernie-intro [music on either end]
If the people in carthage were to make a list of those people that they thought would get to heaven, I am sure that Bernie would be a the top of the list.
When Bernie was released last May, we spoke to Skip Hollandsworth, co-author of Linklater’s film. It was his story in the Texas Monthly that triggered the director’s interest -- a story itself inspired by an oddball police blotter item from 17 years ago.