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American Masters

IMDB: 8.0

1985, 33 seasons to date

Documentary / Biography

By Susan Lacy

Latest Episodes

Since its premiere in 1986, this Emmy-winning documentary series has presented hundreds of hours comprising profiles of outstanding American cultural artists. Past subjects have included Charles Chaplin, Helen Hayes, pop icon Andy Warhol, singer Billie Holiday and composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein.

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Season 5

Season 6

Season 17

Season 18

Season 24

Season 25

Season 26

  • Johnny Carson: King of Late Night

    Chronological look at the life and career of Johnny Carson (1925-2005), with commentary from an ex-wife and more than 30 fellow comedians, friends, employees, and biographers. The biography defines why Carson was an enduring star (his cool, his timing, his genuine laugh, his breadth of knowledge) and pursues his motivations and inner self (a loner with a drinking problem, a decent Midwesterner whose mother withheld approval, a quiet person who loved to entertain). The key to understanding him, argues the biography, is his love of magic.

    Johnny Carson: King of Late Night
  • The Day Carl Sandburg Died

    The Day Carl Sandburg Died is a dynamic exploration into the life and work of the iconic American, Carl Sandburg. From an impoverished youth on the prairie of Illinois to the halls of Congress and the Ed Sullivan Show, it was a tale of perseverance and success. During his lifetime he was revered, becoming one of the most successful writers of the 20th century. But when he died, in 1967 his legacy suffered an unusual an inexplicably fast decline. His work was disparaged and his remarkable life all but forgotten. But if Sandburg was forgotten, he is now being remembered...

    The Day Carl Sandburg Died
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Season 27

  • Mel Brooks: Make a Noise

    In 60-years in show business, he has earned more awards than any other living entertainer. A comedy giant of our time, Melvin Kaminsky developed his aggressively funny personality on the streets of Brooklyn, and the Catskill Mountains, before landing a writers job on the legendary "Your Show of Shows". The first "2000 Year Old Man" album, recorded with Carl Reiner in the early '60s, unleashed his wacky mind on the world. His brazen satirical film "The Producers" won the 1968 Oscar for best screenplay and such cult classics as "Blazing Saddles", "Young Frankenstein", ...

    Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
  • Billie Jean King

    For the first time, American Masters profiles a sports figure: Billie Jean King, a determined woman who has been a major force in changing and democratizing the cultural landscape. American Masters Billie Jean King premieres nationally Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) to commemorate the 40th anniversaries of the Billie Jean King v. Bobby Riggs "The Battle of the Sexes" match on Sept. 20, 1973, and the founding of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) by King on June 20 of that year. This new documentary traces the incredible life of ...

    Billie Jean King
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Season 28

Season 30

  • Carole King: Natural Woman

    Rare home movies, performances and photos help illustrate the life and career of songwriter-singer Carole King, from 1960s New York to Los Angeles in the 1970s to extensive present-day interviews with King and and those who know her best.

    Carole King: Natural Woman
  • Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll

    The New Orleans rhythm and blues of Fats Domino helped aid integration in the South.

    Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll
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Season 31

  • Patsy Cline

    Pasty Cline defined modern country music by using her singular talent and heart-wrenching emotional depth to break down barriers of gender, class and genre. In her life she set a standard of authenticity towards which artists still strive.

    Patsy Cline
  • James Beard: America's First Foodie

    Today's American food movement can be traced back to one man: cookbook author, journalist, television celebrity and teacher James Beard.

    James Beard: America's First Foodie
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