Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Letter Home Reveals Janis’ Greatest Ambition


In this film excerpt from Janis: Little Girl Blue, Chan Marshall narrates Janis Joplin’s letter home to family shortly after her 27th (and last) birthday. The letter reveals a glimpse into her off-stage struggles, mostly rooted in her reckless lifestyle and strong desire to be loved. American Masters – Janis: Little Girl Blue premieres nationwide Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at 8/7c on PBS.


Dear family, I managed to pass my, uh, 27th birthday without really feelin' it.

Oh, it's such a funny game.

Two years ago, I didn't even wanna be it.

No, that's not true.

I've been lookin' around, and I've noticed something.

After you reach a certain level of talent, and quite a few have that talent, the deciding factor is ambition or, as I see it, how much you really need, need to be loved and need to be proud of yourself.

And I guess that's what ambition is.

It's not all a depraved quest for position or money.

Maybe it's for love, lots of love.

Ha. Janis.


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.