American Masters

Laura Ingalls Wilder led three fascinating lives

The three lives of Laura Ingalls Wilder continue to fascinate us.
There was young-Laura, growing up in little houses on prairies. Many girls — familiar with the slightly fictional version in ovels and on TV (shown here) — try to replicate that life.
“They are dressed in their little gingham outfits,” Mary McDonagh Murphy, producer of a new “American Master” portrait at 8 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 29) on PBS, told the Television Critics Association. “They come on these pilgrimages, because they feel they know her.”
And there was old-Laura, who was 65 when her first novel was published. Seven more followed and she had 25 years of fame. “Wilder transformed her frontier childhood into the best-selling ‘Little House’ series and helped shape American ideas,” said “Masters” producer Michael Kantor.
But what about middle-Laura? What about the first 47 years after she married Almanzo Wilder? Read more…

Raul Julia’s life was a passionate party

Raul Julia reached New York in 1964, a time when people made easy assumptions.
He was an actor from Puerto Rico; surely, that meant lots of street-smart roles. One talk-show host said she’d heard he didn’t speak English when he got there.
“Of course he spoke English,” theater director Oskar Eustis said. “He spoke beautiful English.”
Julia (shown here) – the subject of a PBS profile Friday — grew up around English-speaking teachers. He was college-educated, Shakespeare-trained. “He was very well-educated …. Latinos don’t (only) come under stressful conditions,” actor Esai Morales said. “We are not always struggling to survive.” Read more…