Marian Rees

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About
About this interview

In her seven-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Marian Rees (1927-2018) talks about her break into television as a member of staff production, where she worked on Lux Video Theatre and An Evening with Fred Astaire. Rees describes her work with Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin at Tandem Productions, where she served as the associate producer for the pilots of All in the Family and Sanford and Son. She discusses her long association as an executive producer for telefilms of the 1980s and 1990s, which she produced through her own company Marian Rees Associates, including "The Marva Collins Story," "Love Is Never Silent," and "Miss Rose White." Rees recalls her other TV movie projects, including The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Between FriendsWhen the Vows Break, Is There Life Out There? and Ruby Bridges. She outlines her then-recent work on the Masterpiece Theatre American Collection telefilms "Cora Unashamed," "Song of the Lark," and "Almost a Woman." She concludes by discussing ageism in the industry and gives advice to young, female aspiring television producers. Karen Herman conducted the interview on September 3, 2004 and November 5, 2004 in Studio City, CA.

"As a producer, something comes in front of you and you say, 'Oh, I just have to tell that story.' A movie like 'Love is Never Silent' allows people with disabilities to watch and say, 'We're seeing ourselves on the screen. We are visible. We are now visible.'"

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Marian Rees on working on the Lux Video Theatre production of "Zola" and the empowerment of drama
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends
Marian Rees on the guidelines as to what was acceptable in a Hallmark Hall of Fame  presentation 
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on her education 
On becoming involved with the black community; on her personal identity 

Chapter 2

On her post-college activities in New York at the United Nations; on getting into television as a secretary at NBC in Hollywood
On the state of television when she started working in the industry circa 1952; on working on The  Dennis Day Show;  on going to work on This is Your Life  with Ralph Edwards

Chapter 3

On working on Lux Video Theatre in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook; on matriculating though the television business; on artistic disagreements over Lux Video Theatre
On the "rules" the sponsor had for Lux Video Theatre; on working on the Lux Video Theatre production of "Zola" and the empowerment of drama; on being fired from NBC

Chapter 4

On going to work as a production assistant on An Evening With Fred Astaire 
On joining Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear; on the overriding mission of Tandem Productions when it started; on Tandem Productions being on the Paramount lot and Tandem producing a feature film; on her day-to-day duties during her early years at Tandem 

Chapter 5

On Tandem Productions producing feature films with Norman Lear
On Norman Lear adapting Till Death Us Do Part into All in the Family; on casting All in the Family; on the network response to All in the Family

Chapter 6

On the cast of All in the Family; on working on Sanford and Son; on selling Sanford and Son to the networks
On being dismissed from Tandem Productions; on going to work for Tomorrow Entertainment

Chapter 7

On producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism; on developing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and other shows from scratch
On producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman;  on various other Tomorrow Entertainment projects

Chapter 8

On producing Deadman's Curve  and The  Cracker Factory;  on producing Orphan Train;  on leaving EMI for Nicholl Ross West
On producing The Marva Collins Story;  on producing Angel Dusted;  on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company

Chapter 9

On starting her own production company; on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty  and her struggle to get it financed; on the production of Miss All-American Beauty  starring Cloris Leachman and Jayne Meadows
On attempting to produce her passion project "Love Is Never Silent" and pitching it to Donald Hall; on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame  and her struggle with the network to cast deaf actors in lead roles

Chapter 10

On executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame;  on executive producing Foxfire  starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy; on executive producing "Miss Rose White" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
On executive producing "The Shell Seekers" for Hallmark Hall of Fame;  on the guidelines as to what was acceptable in a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation; on executive producing Between Friends

Chapter 11

On working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends;  on executive producing The Gift of Love;  on executive producing Is There Life Out There?
On executive producing When the Vows Break;  on executive producing Ruby Bridges

Chapter 12

On the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges and gaining Ruby's trust; on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges was based and recreating it
On becoming involved with Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and selling the show; on gaining full creative control over Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection

Chapter 13

On programming Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection;  on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "Cora Unashamed"
On Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "A Death in the Family" and "Almost a Woman"; on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection and public reaction to the series

Chapter 14

On public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"
On then-current projects; on the challenges facing independent producers and how distribution has changed

Chapter 15

On her involvement in Women in Film; on advice to aspiring female television producers; on her producing partner Anne Hopkins
On ageism in the industry; on career highlights; on career regrets
On B-roll photos from her career- at The Christopher Awards with Ed Waterstreet; with Juilanna Feld on the set of Hallmark Hall of Fame's  "Love Is Never Silent"; with Carol Burnett and Elizabeth Taylor; with producing partner Anne Hopkins
Shows

All in the Family

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Marian Rees on Norman Lear adapting Till Death Us Do Part  into All in the Family
Marian Rees on her role in the development of All in the Family and casting Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker"
Marian Rees on casting Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family  and the rest of the cast
Marian Rees on network response to All in the Family
Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family

Angel Dusted

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Marian Rees on producing Angel Dusted

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The

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Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman  starring Cicely Tyson

Between Friends

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Marian Rees on executive producing Between Friends  with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends

Cracker Factory, The

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Marian Rees on producing The  Cracker Factory

Deadman's Curve

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Marian Rees on producing Deadman's Curve

Dennis Day Show. The

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Marian Rees on working on the Dennis Day Show 

Evening With Fred Astaire, An

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Marian Rees on going to work as a production assistant on An Evening With Fred Astaire 

Foxfire

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Marian Rees on executive producing Foxfire starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy

General Electric Theater, The

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Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism 
Marian Rees on developing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and other shows from scratch

Gift of Love, The

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Marian Rees on executive producing The Gift of Love  starring Andy Griffith

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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Marian Rees on attempting to produce her passion project "Love Is Never Silent" and pitching it to Donald Hall
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame  and her struggle with the network to cast deaf actors in lead roles
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
Marian Rees on executive producing "Miss Rose White" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
Marian Rees on executive producing "The Shell Seekers" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
Marian Rees on the guidelines as to what was acceptable in a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation 

Hallmark Hall of Fame: "Miss Rose White"

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Marian Rees on executive producing "Miss Rose White" for Hallmark Hall of Fame

Is There Life Out There?

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Marian Rees on executive producing Is There Life Out There?

Love Is Never Silent

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Marian Rees on attempting to produce her passion project "Love Is Never Silent" and pitching it to Donald Hall
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame  and her struggle with the network to cast deaf actors in lead roles
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame

Lux Video Theatre

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Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre  in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook
Marian Rees on working with George Roy Hill and Buzz Kulik on Lux Video Theatre
Marian Rees on artistic disagreements over Lux Video Theatre
Marian Rees on the "rules" the sponsor had for Lux Video Theatre
Marian Rees on working on the Lux Video Theatre  production of "Zola" and the empowerment of drama

Marva Collins, Story, The

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Marian Rees on producing The Marva Collins Story

Masterpiece Theatre

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Marian Rees on becoming involved with Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and selling the show
Marian Rees on gaining full creative control over Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
Marian Rees on programming Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection 
Marian Rees on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "Cora Unashamed"
Marian Rees on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "A Death in the Family" and "Almost a Woman"
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection and public reaction to the series
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"

Miss All-American Beauty

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Marian Rees on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty  and her struggle to get it financed
Marian Rees on the production of Miss All-American Beauty starring Cloris Leachman and Jayne Meadows

Orphan Train

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Marian Rees on producing Orphan Train

Ruby Bridges

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Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges was based and recreating it

Sanford and Son

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Marian Rees on working on Sanford and Son
Marian Rees on the casting of Sanford and Son
Marian Rees on selling Sanford and Son to the networks

Shell Seekers, The

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing "The Shell Seekers" for Hallmark Hall of Fame

This Is Your Life

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Marian Rees on going to work on This is Your Life  hosted by Ralph Edwards

When the Vows Break

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Marian Rees on executive producing When the Vows Break
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Marian Rees on becoming involved with the black community
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges  and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges  was based and recreating it

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company
Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism 
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame  and her struggle with the network to cast deaf actors in lead roles
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges  and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges  was based and recreating it
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"
Marian Rees on her involvement in Women in Film

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Marian Rees on becoming involved with the black community
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism 
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame  and her struggle with the network to cast deaf actors in lead roles
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges  and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges  was based and recreating it
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"
Marian Rees on her involvement in Women in Film

Minorities

View Topic
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges  and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges  was based and recreating it
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"

People with Disabilities

View Topic
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame  and her struggle with the network to cast deaf actors in lead roles

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Marian Rees on getting into television as a secretary at NBC in Hollywood
Marian Rees on joining Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear 
Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company
Marian Rees on starting her own production company

Television Industry

View Topic
Marian Rees on the state of television when she started working in the industry circa 1952
Marian Rees on the challenges facing independent producers and how distribution has changed
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers
Marian Rees on ageism in the industry

Women

View Topic
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism 
Marian Rees on her involvement in Women in Film
Professions

Producers

View Profession
Marian Rees on starting her own production company
Marian Rees on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty
Marian Rees on producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and public reaction to the series
Marian Rees on the challenges facing independent producers and how distribution has changed
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater 
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection (Part 2)
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  (Part 3)

Comedy Series

View Genre
Marian Rees on working on All in the Family  (Part 1)
Marian Rees on working on All in the Family  (Part 2)
Marian Rees on working on Sanford and Son

Drama Series

View Genre
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  (Part 2)
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection (Part 3)

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Marian Rees on working on The  Dennis Day Show
Marian Rees on to work as a production assistant on An Evening With Fred Astaire 

Reality TV

View Genre
Marian Rees on going to work on This is Your Life  hosted by Ralph Edwards

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Marian Rees on producing Deadman's Curve
Marian Rees on producing The  Cracker Factory
Marian Rees on producing Orphan Train
Marian Rees on producing The Marva Collins Story
Marian Rees on producing Angel Dusted
Marian Rees on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty
Marian Rees on producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame  (Part 2)
Marian Rees on executive producing Foxfire  starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy
Marian Rees on executive producing "Miss Rose White" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
Marian Rees on executive producing "The Shell Seekers" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
Marian Rees on executive producing Between Friends  with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett (Part 1)
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends  (Part 2)
Marian Rees on executive producing The Gift of Love  starring Andy Griffith 
Marian Rees on executive producing Is There Life Out There?
Marian Rees on executive producing When the Vows Break
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
Marian Rees on producing Ruby Bridges (Part 2)
People

Fred Astaire

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Marian Rees on to work as a production assistant on An Evening With Fred Astaire 

Carol Burnett

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Marian Rees on executive producing Between Friends  with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett (Part 1)
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends

Fielder Cook

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Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook

Hume Cronyn

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Marian Rees on executive producing Foxfire  starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy 

Dennis Day

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Marian Rees on working on The  Dennis Day Show

Ralph Edwards

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Marian Rees on going to work on This is Your Life  hosted by Ralph Edwards

Redd Foxx

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Marian Rees on working on Sanford and Son  starring Redd Foxx
Marian Rees on the casting of Sanford and Son:  Redd Foxx

Andy Griffith

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Marian Rees on executive producing The Gift of Love  starring Andy Griffith

Donald Hall

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Marian Rees on attempting to produce her passion project "Love Is Never Silent" and pitching it to Donald Hall

George Roy Hill

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Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook
Marian Rees on working with George Roy Hill and Buzz Kulik on Lux Video Theatre

Anne Hopkins

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Marian Rees on her producing partner Anne Hopkins

Fay Kanin

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Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company

Buzz Kulik

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Marian Rees on working with George Roy Hill and Buzz Kulik on Lux Video Theatre

Cloris Leachman

View Person Page
Marian Rees on the production of Miss All-American Beauty starring Cloris Leachman and Jayne Meadows

Norman Lear

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Marian Rees on joining Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear
Marian Rees on the overriding mission of Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, when it started
Marian Rees on Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, being on the Paramount lot and Tandem producing a feature film
Marian Rees on her day-to-day duties during her early years at Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin
Marian Rees on Tandem productions producing feature films with Norman Lear
Marian Rees on being dismissed from Tandem Productions by Norman Lear

Jayne Meadows

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Marian Rees on the production of Miss All-American Beauty starring Cloris Leachman and Jayne Meadows

Don Nicholl

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Marian Rees on leaving EMI for Nicholl Ross West
Marian Rees on the end of Nicholl Ross West and the death of Don Nicholl

Carroll O'Connor

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Marian Rees on casting Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family  and the rest of the cast
Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family:  Carroll O'Connor

Rob Reiner

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Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family:  Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers

Michael Ross

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Marian Rees on leaving EMI for Nicholl Ross West
Marian Rees on the end of Nicholl Ross West and the death of Don Nicholl

Franklin J. Schaffner

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Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook

Jean Stapleton

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Marian Rees on her role in the development of All in the Family  and casting Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker"
Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family:  Jean Stapleton

Sally Struthers

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Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family: Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers

Jessica Tandy

View Person Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Foxfire  starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy

Elizabeth Taylor

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Marian Rees on executive producing Between Friends  with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett (Part 1)
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends

Cicely Tyson

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Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman  starring Cicely Tyson

Bernard West

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Marian Rees on leaving EMI for Nicholl Ross West
Marian Rees on the end of Nicholl Ross West and the death of Don Nicholl

Demond Wilson

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Marian Rees on the casting of Sanford and Son:  Demond Wilson

Bud Yorkin

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on joining Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear 
Marian Rees on the overriding mission of Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, when it started
Marian Rees on Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, being on the Paramount lot and Tandem producing a feature film
Marian Rees on her day-to-day duties during her early years at Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin

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