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Fred MacMurray and Burt Lancaster: Tonight on PBS

posted by Nell Minow

PBS pays tribute to two of the all-time great leading men with documentaries airing tonight (check your local station for viewing times).

Burt Lancaster: Daring to Reach 
Learn more about the epic screen star Burt Lancaster who went from street-wise tough to art-collector liberal-activist, from circus-acrobat hunk to Academy Award winner. By age 18, Burt was 6’2″ with an athletic physique and dynamic good looks that helped make him famous. A stint in the Army introduced Burt to acting and led him to Hollywood where his first release, The Killers (1946), propelled him to stardom at age 32. He took control of his own career and seldom faltered. Upon his death in 1994, four-time Academy Award-nominated Lancaster was acknowledged as one of the greatest stars in Hollywood. Lancaster’s films include Westerns, costume epics and serious contemporary dramas.

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Fred MacMurray: The Guy Next Door 
Amiable and unassuming, Fred MacMurray went from small-town boy to one of Hollywood and television’s most enduring stars. Learn more about how MacMurray signed his first contract with Paramount Studios in 1934 and quickly rose to play romantic lead roles opposite such major stars as Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard, Katharine Hepburn, Paulette Goddard, and Marlene Deitrich. However, his true talents were revealed when he went against type and appeared as a murderer opposite Barbara Stanwyck in Billy Wilder’s film-noir classic Double Indemnity (1944). In this program, see which other roles helped define MacMurray as a major acting talent.

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