This tribute to actor and comedian Robin Williams features one of his last full-length interviews for the PIONEERS OF TELEVISION series, including never-before-seen comments on his life and comedic and dramatic work, as well as tributes to Williams by those who knew and worked with him, and clips from his career.
This episode traces the story of people of color on American television—including the breakthroughs of African-Americans Diahann Carroll (Julia) and Bill Cosby (I Spy); Latinos Desi Arnaz (I Love Lucy) and Edward James Olmos (Miami Vice); and Asian-Americans George Takei (Star Trek) and Margaret Cho (All American Girl).
Improv master Jonathan Winters paved the way for younger comedians like Robin Williams. During the filming of "Mork and Mindy," the two actors shared a special relationship.
Though producer Norman Lear intended his hit "Good Times" to be a family show with tender, sentimental moments, young actor Jimmie Walker was there to be funny. According to Jimmie, every sitcom needed a goofy, comedic player to "take the pie."
This episode peeks behind the curtain to reveal the backstage techniques of America’s favorite comedic actors—ranging from Robin Williams’ manic improvisational style to Tina Fey’s measured, highly-prepared approach.
From George Clooney on ER to Richard Chamberlain on Dr. Kildare, television’s long love affair with doctors and nurses shows no signs of letting up. Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Gloria Reuben, Howie Mandel, Ed Begley Jr., Chad Everett and others tell their stories.
Although “Julia” was launched in the turbulent 1960s, the character stayed far from any racial activism. For Diahann Carroll, just the presence of an African-American character on television was enough of a first step.
Bill Cosby's interest in children's education began long before his groundbreaking family sitcom, "The Cosby Show". He even planned to leave television and return to teaching. In this clip, Cosby discusses his involvement in children's programming like "Fat Albert" and "The Electric Company."
In the Fall of 1984, Bill Cosby almost single handedly revived the struggling sitcom genre. In "The Cosby Show," the comedian simply did what he did best: told stories about his family.