History

Did This Texas Killer’s Last Words Inspire the Nike ‘Just Do It’ Campaign?

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Due to the fact that Gilmore was the first individual in the U.S. to be executed following the reinstatement of the death penalty, his story had somewhat of a cultural reverberation at that time. Of note was the novel entitled “The Executioner’s Song,” written by Norman Mailer (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work). It precipitated the movie of the same name, in which Tommy Lee Jones (another Texas notable) portrayed Gilmore in the story of his life and crimes. Among other reflections on Gilmore and what resulted from his spree, the song “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” was recorded by a 1977 punk rock band called The Adverts, and it was used in the soundtrack for the same movie noted above. The impetus for the song was the fact that Gilmore requested that some of his organs be donated following his execution, such as his corneas. The song was then penned from the point-of-view of a patient who received the eyes of Gary Gilmore as a transplant.

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