Texas Democrat and three-decade member of the United States House of Representatives. During the late 1980s, he served as Speaker of the House; he resigned from this post as a result of a political corruption scandal.
After briefly attending the University of Texas at Austin, he served with the United States Army Air Forces in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
During his time in Congress, he introduced the Wright Amendment, a controversial measure that limited flights to and from Dallas's second-largest airport (Love Field).
He grew up in Texas and Oklahoma as the son of a traveling salesman. He later married Mab Wright; the couple raised four children.
He voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1957; President Dwight D. Eisenhower ultimately signed the bill into law.