Director Matt Riddlehoover traces the romantic, wrenching, and dizzying journey of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters in the documentary My Darling Vivian. The documentary which had its world premiere at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival will have a virtual cinema release starting Friday, June 19.
My Darling Vivian has the unique advantage of exclusive, unprecedented access to a wealth of never-before-seen footage and photographs of Vivian Liberto and Johnny Cash, as well as to their daughters themselves. Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash Tittle, Cindy Cash, and Tara Cash Schwoebel chronologically trace Vivian’s romantic, wrenching, and dizzying journey, shedding light on the undeniable marks that were left.
In 1951, Catholic schoolgirl Vivian Liberto meets handsome Air Force cadet Johnny Cash at her local San Antonio, Texas skating rink. Their whirlwind summer romance lays the foundation for a feverish three-year-long correspondence while Johnny is stationed in Germany. Thousands of letters later, the two marry upon his return in 1954. Within a year, a career blossoms and a family is started. By 1961, Johnny Cash is a household name, number one on the music charts, and perpetually on tour. Meanwhile, only two weeks postpartum, Vivian settles into their custom-built home in Casitas Springs, California with their four young daughters. Plagued by bobcats, rattlesnakes, all-hours visits from fans, and a growing resentment toward her husband’s absence, Vivian is pushed to a near breaking point when she and her daughters are targeted by hate groups over her perceived race. In My Darling Vivian, we will meet the first Mrs. Cash as her daughters, Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, and Tara, share with us first hand, for the first time, the entire story of love, isolation, fear, heartbreak, and survival.