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Barbra Streisand Brings 'THE LIVING CENTURY' to PBS

By Digital Journal Staff     Nov 23, 2000 in Lifestyle
LOS ANGELES - The Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary People will premiere on PBS in December. Barbra Streisand and Cis Corman, president of Barwood Films, are executive producing the series with Steven Latham and Christopher Carson, and Emmy and Academy Award winning actor
Jack Lemmon is hosting the program.
THE LIVING CENTURY is a new biography series that profile individuals who
have lived every day of the 20th Century. Each 30-minute episode of THE
LIVING CENTURY profiles one centenarian. Their memories, their unique
perceptions of the world and the radical changes they witnessed during their
lifetime come alive through interviews, family photographs, home movies,
archival footage and an original musical score.
There are 70,000 Americans who are at least 100 years old. By the year
2050, there will be 834,000.
"The individuals we profile have seen more change in their lives than any
other generation," says Steven Latham, the series' creator. "They have either
made history or have been involved in historic events. We can learn so much
about our collective past first-hand from those who lived it. It's exciting
to think that in January, these centenarians will have set foot in three
The two episodes of THE LIVING CENTURY premiering in December are:
"Three Miracles"
Rose Freedman, born in 1893, has led an extraordinary life: in addition to
being the last remaining survivor of the infamous 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist
Factory Fire, she saved the life of an Austrian spy during World War I,
immigrated to America from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, started a family and
bravely coped when two of her children contracted polio and her husband
suddenly passed away. 107-year-old Rose lives on her own, wears a dress and
high heels every day, paints, is an avid basketball fan (Lakers) and recently
began studying Spanish (her sixth language). Three-time U.S. Poet Laureate
Robert Pinsky recites his poem, "Shirt," for this episode, which recounts the
Triangle Factory tragedy.
"A Teacher and Student for Life"
Ray Crist was born in a brick farmhouse in 1900 and grew up in a small
town in Pennsylvania. His grandfather fought in the Civil War. Ray left the
farm and received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Columbia University in 1926. He
was recruited to be the director of the Manhattan Division of the Manhattan
Project where he helped develop the first atomic bomb. He was a friend of
Albert Einstein. Ray has taught at four universities and has been published
in scientific journals. He breaks all stereotypes of a senior citizen. He
lives alone, mows his own lawn, chops wood, works in his garden and does
research at a college every day where his work is focused on protecting the
environment. Dr. Crist is currently working on a paper that will be presented
in Japan in 2001.
THE LIVING CENTURY honors a "Centenarian of the Month" and people can
enter their 100-year-old relatives for "The Living Century Awards" at There is also an education component with the films
being used in schools.
THE LIVING CENTURY's advisory board includes Leonard Maltin, Art
Linkletter, Harvard Gerontologist Dr. Thomas Perls and USC Gerontologist Dr.
Edward Schneider.
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