American Masters: Season 28 (2014)

SEASON:

Season 28
American Masters

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Episodes

Air date: Jan 21, 2014

An insightful look at the life of J.D. Salinger (1919-2010), the influential writer who stepped away from the spotlight following the success of his 1951 novel "The Catcher in the Rye." Included: his relationship with Oona O'Neill; WWII experiences; and involvement with younger women, including writer Joyce Maynard. The documentary features archival footage and photos; and remarks from friends, colleagues and such admirers as John Cusack and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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Air date: Feb 7, 2014

A profile of writer Alice Walker, the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (for her 1982 novel "The Color Purple"). Included: remarks from Walker; Danny Glover; Quincy Jones; Sapphire; Steven Spielberg; and Howard Zinn.

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Air date: Apr 22, 2014

An exploration of the environmental movement from the 1960s through 2009. Included: the battle in the 1960s to block dams from the Grand Canyon; the Love Canal scandal of the 1970s; Greenpeace's efforts to save whales and baby harp seals; the global resource crises of the 1980s; and the 25-year effort to address climate change. Narrators include Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, Van Jones and Isabel Allende.

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Air date: May 16, 2014

Profiling George Plimpton (1927-2003), whose exploits in participatory journalism led to such fun reads as "Paper Lion" (about how he tried out for the Detroit Lions) and "Out of My League" (about his stint pitching to baseball all-stars). He also edited the literary journal Paris Review; hung out with U.S. presidents; and served as the Big Apple's (unofficial) fireworks commissioner. The documentary includes archival footage; and remarks from such notables as Robert Kennedy Jr. and Hugh Hefner.

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Air date: Jun 20, 2014

A profile of ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq (1929-2000), who was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet until stricken with polio at age 27 in 1956. Prior, she was a muse for her husband George Balanchine and friend Jerome Robbins, and graced the stage in many of their ballets. The documentary features photos, home movies and kinescopes; and remarks from friends-fellow dancers Pat McBride Lousada, Jacques d'Amboise and Arthur Mitchell; and Barbara Horgan, Balanchine's longtime assistant.

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Air date: Aug 29, 2014

A profile of photographer Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), who captured iconic images of the Great Depression, Dust Bowl and WWII Japanese-American internment camps, by her granddaughter (and acclaimed cinematographer) Dyanna Taylor. The personal documentary incorporates family memories, journals, photos and film footage; interviews and vérité sequences of Lange at her Bay Area home studio, circa 1962-1965; and insights from family, friends and colleagues.

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Air date: Sep 23, 2014

The story of the baby boom generation, which consists of people born from 1946 to '64, is told through the lives of 19 iconic boomers (one from each year), including author Tim O'Brien, Deepak Chopra, Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Joel and Steve Wozniak. Also: Tommy Hilfiger; Amy Tan; Eve Ensler; Julieanna Richardson; Maria Shriver; Kim Cattrall; Virginia Rometty; Ellen Ochoa; Ronnie Lott; Erin Brockovich; Peter Staley; Rosie O'Donnell; David LaChapelle; and John Leguizamo.

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Air date: Sep 23, 2014

An acclaimed vérité documentary about Joan Rivers (1933-2014), filmed over 14 months in 2008 and '09, that follows her as she strives to keep her career alive in an industry obsessed with youth. Along the way, she opens up about her struggle to remain relevant and the rewards that make it worth the trouble.

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Air date: Nov 29, 2014

Bing Crosby (1903-77) is remembered via home movies, Dictabelt recordings, photos and insights from wife Kathryn, daughter Mary and sons Harry and Nathaniel. He scored nearly 400 hit singles, including the classic "White Christmas"; and appeared in such popular films as White Christmas and Going My Way. The profile details the allegations of abuse leveled against him by son Gary and explains how his beloved duet with David Bowie on "Little Drummer Boy-Peace on Earth" came about.

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