During his eight years as California's 35th governor (1983-91), George Deukmejian was known publicly for his tough stances on crime and the state budget and privately for his wry, self-deprecating sense of humor.
The latter quality comes through in a recent question-and-answer interview with the Long Beach Press-Telegram, his hometown newspaper.
Press-Telegram columnist Tim Grobaty conducted the interview and pointed out that a new courthouse in the city will be named for Deukmejian, who also was a state legislator and state attorney general before winning the governorship.
"What a wonderful, amazing honor," Deukmejian replied. "I came to Long Beach in 1958 and I didn't know anyone except my wife, and now to have a courthouse named for me is really a thrilling honor. Nothing I ever expected. Now the challenge is to stay alive until it opens."
PHOTO CREDIT: George Deukmejian in 2002. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench.