An ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of our most outstanding cultural artists. Created in 1984, the series is both a celebration and an exploration of creativity in America, documenting the role important individuals, groups, and movements have played in the formation of our cultural identity.
Marilyn Monroe: Still Life (#1904L) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG-S
There are the movie roles, but it is the still images - the iconic face, expressions and poses - that make up our collective memory of Marilyn. She was, arguably, the most photographed person ever. Her relationship with the camera produced an enduring body of work that still dazzles and moves us, evoking both desire and pathos. These photographs are an ageless testament to her grace, guts and sexiness - her humor and vulnerability. She understood their power, and she exploited it. She created, and curated, her own image - lips puckered to the lens, inviting us to kiss her back. She would be 80 now. She died more than 40 years ago. We look back through Norman Mailer, Gloria Steinem and Hugh Heffner, as Marilyn persists in her image.
Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character (#2008) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO TVPG
America in the 1960s and 70s was in turmoil. The civil rights struggle, the war in Vietnam and the sexual revolution defined a nation in conflict. But at 10 o'clock every Saturday night, in dorms and dens, in living rooms and bedrooms across the country, Americans watched "The Carol Burnett Show." For 11 years, the wacky performer yelled like Tarzan and won -- and sometimes broke -- our hearts with her edgy, always sympathetic, characters. She could fall down a flight of stairs or hold her own in a duet with Julie Andrews. Yet, as with so many brilliant comedians, hers was a difficult childhood. A glimpse of something deeper and darker began to emerge in the dramatic career that followed her TV variety show.
Harper Lee: American Masters (#2504) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO TVPG-L (Secondary audio: none)
Reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" has been a national pastime for five decades - it is still selling nearly a million copies a year, its classic popularity and power are a common reference. And the courtroom image of Gregory Peck, as the passionate Atticus Finch, gave us an enduring picture for the novel's message. Behind it all was a young Southern girl named Nelle Harper Lee, who once said she wanted to be Alabama's Jane Austen.
This program explores her life and unravels its mysteries, particularly why she never published again. Illuminated with family photos, revealing personal letters and an exclusive interview with her sister, Alice Finch Lee (100 years old), the film is steeped in the texture of the novel's Deep South and the social changes it inspired. Tom Brokaw, Rosanne Cash, Anna Quindlen, Scott Turow, Oprah Winfrey and Andrew Young reflect on how "Mockingbird" shaped their lives.