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S6 Ep8
Ray Charles: The Genius of Soul
They call him the “genius” and they call him the “father of soul.” With perfect pitch and an expressive voice, he combines worlds as diverse as jazz, country, rhythm and blues, and gospel to break your heart or make you dance. His name is Ray Charles, and if you turn your radio to any station you will hear the influence of his ground-breaking music.
Premiered: 1/3/1992
S20 Ep2
Nat King Cole: The World of Nat Kind Cole
Nat King Cole crowns a very short list of the most identifiable and memorable voices in American music. This ground breaking American icon’s impact continues to cross the world’s cultural and political boundaries. The story of his life is a study in success in the face of adversity and the triumph of talent over the ignorance of prejudice.
Premiered: 5/17/2006
S13 Ep4
Robert Rauschenberg: Inventive Genius
Robert Rauschenberg
Born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925, Robert Rauschenberg imagined himself first as a minister and later as a pharmacist. It wasn’t until 1947, while in the U.S. Marines that he discovered his aptitude for drawing and his interest in the artistic representation of everyday objects and people.
Premiered: 4/7/1999
S20 Ep5
Walter Cronkite: Witness to History
He was the man who told us that President Kennedy had been shot, the man who told us that we had put a man on the moon, and the man who told us that we couldn’t win the war in Vietnam. During the 20 years he anchored the evening news on CBS, Walter Cronkite became a daily presence in the American home. Building on the legacy of Edward R. Murrow, he brought CBS to the pinnacle of prestige.
Premiered: 7/26/2006
S16 Ep6
Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance
The title of Charles Atlas’ new documentary on Merce Cunningham may be taken quite literally: his mother described his dancing down the aisle of the church the family attended in Centralia, Washington, at the age of four. At 82, Cunningham is still making new work for the dance company he formed at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, in the summer of 1953.
Premiered: 12/16/2001
S2 Ep8
Unanswered Prayers: The Life and Times of Truman Capote
Throughout his career, Truman Capote remained one of America’s most controversial and colorful authors, combining literary genius with a penchant for the glittering world of high society. Though he wrote only a handful of books, his prose styling was impeccable, and his insight into the psychology of human desire was extraordinary.
Premiered: 9/21/1987
S9 Ep3
Placido Domingo: A Musical Life
Plácido Domingo is one of the most loved and listened to opera singers of the 20th- century. He was born in 1941, into a musical family in the Barrio de Salamanca section of Madrid. His parents were both singers, and when he was five they moved to Mexico with a traveling musical company.
Premiered: 2/15/1995
S13 Ep3
Paul Robeson: Here I Stand
Paul Robeson was the epitome of the 20th-century Renaissance man. He was an exceptional athlete, actor, singer, cultural scholar, author, and political activist. His talents made him a revered man of his time, yet his radical political beliefs all but erased him from popular history. Today, more than one hundred years after his birth, Robeson is just beginning to receive the credit he is due.
Premiered: 2/24/1999
S1 Ep10
Thomas Eakins: A Motion Portrait
Thomas Eakins died in 1916; he left behind a body of work unprecedented in American art for its depth, strength, perception, character, & commitment to realism. During his life, Eakins sold less than 30 paintings. Rejected by the public & the art establishment of his day, it was only after his death that a new generation of scholars & critics recognized Eakins was one of America’s great painters.
Premiered: 8/25/1986
S16 Ep7
Ralph Ellison: An American Journey
In writing INVISIBLE MAN in the late 1940s, Ralph Ellison brought onto the scene a new kind of black protagonist, one at odds with the characters of the leading black novelist at the time, Richard Wright. If Wright’s characters were angry, uneducated, and inarticulate — the consequences of a society that oppressed them — Ellison’s Invisible Man was educated, articulate, and self-aware.
Premiered: 2/19/2002
S21 Ep6
Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends
Tony Bennett is an artist who moves the hearts and touches the souls of audiences. He’s the singer’s singer and has received high praise from his colleagues through the years, including Frank Sinatra, who stated unequivocally, “Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business.” He is an international treasure who was honored by the United Nations with its Citizen of the World award.
Premiered: 9/12/2007


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