Five Wives, Three Secretaries and Me

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Thomas Blake is in some ways the ultimate Texas millionaire; the son of a wealthy family, he was forced to make his own way through college during the Depression, when he made money playing banjo in a saloon and received a law degree. In time he distinguished himself as an attorney, made a fortune in oil, expanded his wealth into a number of other areas before the Texas oil boom went bust, and made friends with a long list of notables, from Howard Hughes to Gary Cooper. In 1994, the 88-year-old Blake was on his fifth wife when he presented his youngest daughter, 25-year-old Tessa Blake, with a $1 million check from her trust fund. Several months later, Tessa, a film student, returned to her father's estate with a film crew to shoot a documentary about her family. Five Wives, Three Secretaries and Me takes a long look at Thomas, his relationship with Tessa, and a family in which Thomas's first and fifth wives often meet for lunch, the third often visits on holidays, his third secretary (who has outlasted his last three marriages) often makes Mr. Blake's meals, and Tessa was primarily raised by the family's Mexican maid (so much so that as a child she spoke Spanish as fluently as English). Five Wives, Three Secretaries and Me was first shown at the 1998 South By Southwest Film Festival.

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