History

American Masters

American Masters, committed to producing comprehensive film biographies about the broad cast of characters who comprise our cultural history.

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Audio Descriptive Version)

1h 49m

Explore the life and work of the legendary neurologist and storyteller, as he shares intimate details of his battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and a medical establishment that accepted his work only decades after the fact.

Episodes

  • Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Audio Descriptive Version): asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Audio Descriptive Version)

    S35 E6 - 1h 49m

    Explore the life and work of the legendary neurologist and storyteller, as he shares intimate details of his battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and a medical establishment that accepted his work only decades after the fact.

  • Oliver Sacks: His Own Life: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

    S35 E5 - 1h 49m

    Explore the life and work of the legendary neurologist and storyteller, as he shares intimate details of his battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and a medical establishment that accepted his work only decades after the fact.

  • Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story

    S35 E4 - 1h 23m

    After more than 30 years as the colorful bandleader of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, master trumpeter Doc Severinsen continues to defy nature well into his 90s with a grueling schedule of touring, performing and teaching. Trace the life and groundbreaking career of the unstoppable musical icon, revealing his personal trials and underscoring a remarkable journey of inspiration.

  • Twyla Moves: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Twyla Moves

    S35 E3 - 1h 22m

    Explore legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp’s career and famously rigorous creative process, with original interviews, first-hand glimpses of her at work and rare archival footage of select performances from her more than 160 choreographed works.

  • Flannery: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Flannery

    S35 E2 - 1h 23m

    Explore the life of Flannery O’Connor whose provocative fiction was unlike anything published before. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, newly discovered journals and interviews with Mary Karr, Tommy Lee Jones, Hilton Als and more.

  • How It Feels To Be Free: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    American Masters: How It Feels To Be Free

    S35 E1 - 1h 53m

    A documentary that tells the inspiring story of how six iconic African American women entertainers – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier – challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.

Extras + Features

  • Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir

    S35 E7 - 2m 14s

    An intimate portrait of the groundbreaking writer that interweaves archival imagery, including home movies and personal photographs, animation and original interviews to tell the inspiring story of Tan’s life and career.

  • Amy Tan’s first job was writing astrology: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Amy Tan’s first job was writing astrology

    S35 E7 - 2m 12s

    Amy Tan’s first job was “making up” astrology for her friend’s astrology hotline business. She later wrote ad copy, direct mail, and became a technical writer for a telecommunications company: “all the subjects I had absolutely no interest in,” Tan recalls. She turned to writing fiction in the search for more meaningful work and learned a lot about herself in the process.

  • How Amy Tan met her husband Lou: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Amy Tan met her husband Lou

    S35 E7 - 1m 14s

    According to Amy Tan's husband, Lou, it was "cluelessness at first sight." At first, Tan wasn't attracted to Lou because of his big muscles. "I always feel that the amount of muscle mass detracts from the mass in the brain."

  • What was the Joy Luck Club?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What was the Joy Luck Club?

    S35 E7 - 1m 34s

    The title of Amy Tan's famous novel was also the name of an investment club made up of Tan's parents and friends. Sandy Bremner, one of Tan's friends from childhood, describes how powerful it was for their parents to be around other immigrants from China like themselves.

  • What pushed Oliver Sacks’ brother towards psychosis?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What pushed Oliver Sacks’ brother towards psychosis?

    S35 E5 - 1m 10s

    The physician and writer Oliver Sacks had a brother who started to experience psychosis as a young man. This experience was a great influence on Sacks, who would go on to devote his life to treating, documenting, and humanizing people with mental disorders.

  • Why did Oliver Sacks love the periodic table so much?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Why did Oliver Sacks love the periodic table so much?

    S35 E5 - 1m 14s

    The renowned physician and writer Oliver Sacks was known for his amazing empathy for other people. But his first “friends” as a child, as he described, were not people but numbers, minerals, metals, and plants. He loved these things throughout his life and even incorporated them into his wardrobe.

  • What made physician Oliver Sacks unique?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What made physician Oliver Sacks unique?

    S35 E5 - 1m 26s

    Journalist Robert Krulwich explains that the storytelling abilities of neurologist Oliver Sacks had the significant effect of "storying people back into the world" – people who otherwise would have been isolated and overlooked by the rest of society because of their neurological challenges.

  • Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story

    S35 E4 - 1m 48s

    After more than 30 years as the colorful bandleader of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, master trumpeter Doc Severinsen continues to defy nature well into his 90s with a grueling schedule of touring, performing and teaching. An engaging new documentary, Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story, traces the life and groundbreaking career of the unstoppable musical icon.

  • Doc Severinsen's fitness routine: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Doc Severinsen's Unique Fitness Routine

    S35 E4 - 2m 14s

    On top of being a musical icon and legendary trumpeter, Doc Severinsen makes sure he hits the gym everyday. Follow his daily workout routine, including the preworkout meal he swears by: 'cowboy oatmeal'.

  • The best of Doc Severinsen's eccentric outfits: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Best of Doc Severinsen's Eccentric Outfits

    S35 E4 - 2m 37s

    Each night he appeared on The 'Tonight Show with Johnny Carson', Doc Severinsen would walk out dawning the most eccentric, loud and gawkish clothing items – all of which he sourced himself.

Schedule

  • Image
    American Masters: TVSS: Banner-L1

    American Masters

    Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

    Sunday
    Apr 11

    2 Hours

    Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison's life, her works, and the themes she confronted throughout her literary career.
  • Image
    American Masters: TVSS: Banner-L1

    American Masters

    Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

    Sunday
    Apr 11

    2 Hours

    The life and work of neurologist and storyteller Oliver Sacks, whose work redefined people's understanding of the brain.
  • Image
    American Masters: TVSS: Banner-L1

    American Masters

    How It Feels to Be Free

    Friday
    Apr 23

    2 Hours

    Black female entertainers Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier change American culture through films, fashion, music and politics.

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