“Yes, I’m a real southern boy,” he told reporters. “I’ve got a red neck, white socks, and drink Blue Ribbon beer."
Billy Carter was born in Plains in 1937. After their father’s death, Billy resented his older brother Jimmy returning home to run the family business and joined the Marines instead. Billy ran the business after Jimmy entered politics, boasting that he made more money than his brother ever did.
When Jimmy became president in 1976, Billy was thrust into the spotlight, and loved it. Holding court at his gas station, he told reporters that he was the only sane one in the family. He cashed in on his fun-loving, good-ole-boy persona to sell Billy Beer, and the press portrayed him as part cracker-barrel-philosopher, part buffoon. But his business dealings with Libya caused a scandal and damaged Jimmy politically.
Billy sought treatment for alcoholism before his death from cancer at 51.
One of the most colorful First Family members in history was born on March 29, 1937, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.