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Is it ever rational to choose death? On Independence Day at Stern Ranch in central California, 77-year-old solar-energy pioneer Bob Stern finds out he is seriously ill — possibly dying. Meanwhile, an elderly in-law is slowly declining on artificial life support in a hospital. Bob decides to cheat that fate and take his own life. His family tries to stop him. But first, Bob sets up a video camera. Daughter Susan Stern (Barbie Nation, POV 1998) tells the story of her father's quirky, inspiring life and the difficult end-of-life choices faced by an aging population. Part King Lear, part Western, The Self-Made Man is a true-life family drama about a controversial issue: Should we control how we die? A co-presentation with the Independent Television Service (ITVS).