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Cousin Olympia Takes Viewers On Intimate Tour Of Dukakis’ Life

July 22, 1988

ATLANTA (AP) _ Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis took America on a folksy stroll through Michael Dukakis’ life Thursday night, narrating a video that provided an inside look at her cousin - his immigrant roots, childhood, home life and values.

″Like our fathers before us, Mike believes that in America, anything is possible,″ Miss Dukakis said during her introduction of the Democratic presidential nominee at the finale of the Democratic National Convention.

″We all know that many Americans have come to this country with nothing, nothing but hope. Well, today one of their sons stands before you with the opportunity to be president of the United States.″

In a pre-recorded video played for the convention and TV audience, Miss Dukakis stood at the Dukakis family’s suburban home in Brookline, Mass., showing off the tomato plants and ″where he comes on his day off to cut the grass. Mike, it needs it.″

Playing on the Massachusetts governor’s well-known reputation for frugality, Miss Dukakis displayed a 25-year-old snowblower.

″Mike says it works as well as it did on the day he bought it. John, his son, says it’s as old as his two sisters. I say Mike gives the word frugal new dimension.″

The nominee’s cousin also took viewers back to Dukakis’ high school, describing a sports-loving youth who excelled at baseball, basketball, tennis and cross-country and ″used to listen to the Red Sox on the radio (and) figure out batting averages.″

″Michael went away to college planning to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a physician, but he soon discovered his own interests in politics and government. He became very interested in what was happening in the country then. He was inspired by John F. Kennedy. So in 1960, after the Army, he went to the Democratic Convention. Soon afterwards, he decided to run for office.″

Miss Dukakis spoke of her father and uncle who came from Greece in search of the American dream.

″They had no money. They didn’t know the language. What they had were dreams, a commitment to realize them and a willingness to make sacrifices for their children.″

″Michael and I have been fortunate, but we’re not unique. Millions of Americans have worked hard to realize their dreams. Extending these opportunities to everyone is what Mike’s all about.″

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