About the Production
About the Production
Family, friends, historians and Betty Ford herself reflect on her life as a political spouse; an accidental and outspoken first lady; breast cancer survivor; and feminist pro-choice Republican in Betty Ford: The Real Deal, a one-hour biography which aired in March 2009.
Produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, the documentary explores the life of one of the most influential of the modern first ladies. Although, her candor in the White House initially caused consternation among her husband’s advisors and supporters; it eventually earned her the affection, trust and admiration of a country that had become distrustful, angry and cynical in the wake of the Watergate scandal and an unpopular war. Diagnosed with breast cancer less than a month after becoming First Lady, her openness about her treatment raised awareness of the disease and saved lives by prompting thousands of women to schedule mammograms. Later, her influence coupled with her openness of her own struggles would once again have a positive impact on millions of Americans. Mrs. Ford and her children recount her troubles with alcohol and substance abuse and the family intervention which lead the way, not only to her recovery, but to the establishment of the pioneering treatment facility which bears her name.
Narrated by award-winning actress Jane Alexander, Betty Ford: The Real Deal, features never before seen photos and film footage, plus interviews with Mrs. Ford, her four children and close friends; as wells as interviews with, among others, presidential historians Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith, and; former White House photographer David Hume Kennerly.
Betty Ford: The Real Deal, is the most recent profile in the Modern First Ladies series being produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. MacNeil/Lehrer Productions produces The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, which airs weeknights on more than 300 local PBS stations, as well as other programs for public, commercial and cable television.
MLP also produced complete broadcast coverage of the 2008 Democratic and Republican national conventions for PBS. Other recent television programs produced by MLP include: Debating our Destiny, a critically acclaimed two part series during which Jim Lehrer interviews former presidential and vice-presidential candidates about their debate triumphs and failures; Generation Next, Judy Woodruff’s travels across the country to explore the unique perspectives of Americans ages 16 – 25; the award-winning Do You Speak American?, Robert MacNeil’s cross country trek to discover why American’s speak the way we do; The First Lady: Public Expectations, Private Lives, a look at the expectations of the role of the modern first lady; and LadyBird, a profile of former First Lady, LadyBird Johnson. MLP is also the leading force behind the By the People: America in the World civic engagement project.