The life stories of various historical figures and celebrities are told.



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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 22 wins & 43 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Jack Perkins ...
 Himself - Host / ... 118 episodes, 1993-2005
 Himself - Host / ... 84 episodes, 1987-2002


First hosted by veteran actor Peter Graves, and later by Jack Perkins, this popular Arts and Entertainment Network series profiled the lives of notable figures in the history of entertainment, sports, arts, science, politics and warfare. The show is notable for its in-depth research, which often provides viewers with little-known information about well-known people. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <>

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Release Date:

6 April 1987 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Doppelgangland (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Informative TV Show; Review On Jackson Pollock Bio
23 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

I have watched a handful of these A&E Network "Biographies," and enjoyed them all. For a show that lasts only about 45 minutes, it's amazing how much information they give about a person

I couldn't find the episode about artist Jackson Pollock listed above, so I'll review it briefly here.

One thing this show did is that it verified how accurate the movie, "Pollock," was, which is unusual. Usually films take a lot of license when dealing with history but this A&E show pretty much was right in line with what I saw on the Ed Harris film of 2000. In fact, Harris is among the interviewees here and seems to have a lot of knowledge about this famous painter. Harris, who paints himself, and the rest of the contributors all have their theories on what made Pollock act the way he did.

About 60 percent of this documentary talks about Pollock's up-and-down life and about 40 percent about his artwork. His life, generally, was a disaster, in large part to his drinking disorder. The man was a drunk, from an early age right to his death in which he got blitzed and then smashed his car into a tree. His best art work - by far, as it is pointed out here, was the three-year period in which he was stone sober.

The drinking also brought out a loud and obnoxious personality in a man who normally was very quiet and reserved. Overall, he was not a nice guy and his faults far outweighed his good points. Kudos for "Biography" to at least show that. It also gives him tribute, too, however, for his accomplishments and tries to be sympathetic at times concerning why he acted poorly.

Speaking of sympathy, much of that in this TV show goes out to Lee Krasner, the artist who loved Pollock and sacrificed a part of her career to boost his reputation. She comes out of this looking like a nice lady who put up with a lot of grief for a man she adored.

Anyway, if you're interested in this famous painter, whom Life Magazine once asked, "Is This The Greatest Painter In America?," I would rent the movie. It has all of this info of this A&E show in it, plus a lot more and seems to be an accurate portrayal of the controversial artist.

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