Marian Rees

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In her seven-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Marian Rees 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.'"

Highlights
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
08:20
Marian Rees on working on the Lux Video Theatre production of "Zola" and the empowerment of drama
05:26
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends
06:29
Marian Rees on the guidelines as to what was acceptable in a Hallmark Hall of Fame  presentation 
03:15
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers
05:39
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

View Show Page
Marian Rees on Norman Lear adapting Till Death Us Do Part  into All in the Family
06:10
Marian Rees on her role in the development of All in the Family and casting Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker"
02:43
Marian Rees on casting Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family  and the rest of the cast
05:50
Marian Rees on network response to All in the Family
02:07
Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family
04:54

Angel Dusted

View Show Page
Marian Rees on producing Angel Dusted
03:28

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The

View Show Page
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman  starring Cicely Tyson
08:22

Between Friends

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Between Friends  with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett
08:11
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends
06:29

Cracker Factory, The

View Show Page
Marian Rees on producing The  Cracker Factory
02:45

Deadman's Curve

View Show Page
Marian Rees on producing Deadman's Curve
01:07

Dennis Day Show. The

View Show Page
Marian Rees on working on the Dennis Day Show 
07:35

Evening With Fred Astaire, An

View Show Page
Marian Rees on going to work as a production assistant on An Evening With Fred Astaire 
14:40

Foxfire

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Foxfire starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy
03:51

General Electric Theater, The

View Show Page
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism 
06:33
Marian Rees on developing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and other shows from scratch
04:23

Gift of Love, The

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing The Gift of Love  starring Andy Griffith
02:27

Hallmark Hall of Fame

View Show Page
Marian Rees on attempting to produce her passion project "Love Is Never Silent" and pitching it to Donald Hall
07:02
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
09:26
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
07:06
Marian Rees on executive producing "Miss Rose White" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
04:27
Marian Rees on executive producing "The Shell Seekers" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
03:15
Marian Rees on the guidelines as to what was acceptable in a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation 
03:15

Hallmark Hall of Fame: "Miss Rose White"

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing "Miss Rose White" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
04:27

Is There Life Out There?

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Is There Life Out There?
04:20

Love Is Never Silent

View Show Page
Marian Rees on attempting to produce her passion project "Love Is Never Silent" and pitching it to Donald Hall
07:02
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
09:27
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
07:07

Lux Video Theatre

View Show Page
Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre  in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook
06:36
Marian Rees on working with George Roy Hill and Buzz Kulik on Lux Video Theatre
02:27
Marian Rees on artistic disagreements over Lux Video Theatre
03:26
Marian Rees on the "rules" the sponsor had for Lux Video Theatre
03:37
Marian Rees on working on the Lux Video Theatre  production of "Zola" and the empowerment of drama
05:26

Marva Collins, Story, The

View Show Page
Marian Rees on producing The Marva Collins Story
07:02

Masterpiece Theatre

View Show Page
Marian Rees on becoming involved with Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and selling the show
09:26
Marian Rees on gaining full creative control over Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
05:19
Marian Rees on programming Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection 
06:03
Marian Rees on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "Cora Unashamed"
10:15
Marian Rees on Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's presentation of "A Death in the Family" and "Almost a Woman"
02:51
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection and public reaction to the series
10:43
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"
14:48

Miss All-American Beauty

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty  and her struggle to get it financed
05:07
Marian Rees on the production of Miss All-American Beauty starring Cloris Leachman and Jayne Meadows
01:45

Orphan Train

View Show Page
Marian Rees on producing Orphan Train
05:22

Ruby Bridges

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
14:48
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
06:16
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges was based and recreating it
07:25

Sanford and Son

View Show Page
Marian Rees on working on Sanford and Son
03:57
Marian Rees on the casting of Sanford and Son
02:07
Marian Rees on selling Sanford and Son to the networks
03:51

Shell Seekers, The

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing "The Shell Seekers" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
03:15

This Is Your Life

View Show Page
Marian Rees on going to work on This is Your Life  hosted by Ralph Edwards
03:26

When the Vows Break

View Show Page
Marian Rees on executive producing When the Vows Break
02:36
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers
05:39

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Marian Rees on becoming involved with the black community
05:40
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
14:48
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges  and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
06:16
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges  was based and recreating it
07:25

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company
04:04
Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company
04:04

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism 
04:23
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
08:22
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
09:26
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
14:48
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges  and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
06:16
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges  was based and recreating it
07:25
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"
14:48
Marian Rees on her involvement in Women in Film
07:01

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Marian Rees on becoming involved with the black community
05:40
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism 
04:23
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
08:22
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
09:26
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
14:48
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges  and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
06:16
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges  was based and recreating it
07:25
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"
14:48
Marian Rees on her involvement in Women in Film
07:01

Minorities

View Topic
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
08:22
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
14:48
Marian Rees on the African-American crew on Ruby Bridges  and gaining Ruby Bridges' trust
06:16
Marian Rees on the Norman Rockwell painting on which Ruby Bridges  was based and recreating it
07:25
Marian Rees on public reaction and the educational benefits of Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection's "Almost a Woman"
14:48

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
09:26

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Marian Rees on getting into television as a secretary at NBC in Hollywood
08:12
Marian Rees on joining Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear 
03:14
Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company
04:04
Marian Rees on starting her own production company
05:36

Television Industry

View Topic
Marian Rees on the state of television when she started working in the industry circa 1952
04:39
Marian Rees on the challenges facing independent producers and how distribution has changed
07:58
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers
05:39
Marian Rees on ageism in the industry
01:50

Women

View Topic
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater  and her commitment to feminism 
04:23
Marian Rees on her involvement in Women in Film
07:01
Professions

Producers

View Profession
Marian Rees on starting her own production company
05:36
Marian Rees on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty
05:07
Marian Rees on producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
16:28
Marian Rees on the politics at PBS regarding Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  and public reaction to the series
10:43
Marian Rees on the challenges facing independent producers and how distribution has changed
07:58
Marian Rees on advice to aspiring female television producers
05:39
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre
23:51
Marian Rees on producing "Tell Me Where it Hurts" for General Electric Theater 
10:56
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
14:45
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection (Part 2)
29:52
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  (Part 3)
14:48

Comedy Series

View Genre
Marian Rees on working on All in the Family  (Part 1)
16:50
Marian Rees on working on All in the Family  (Part 2)
04:54
Marian Rees on working on Sanford and Son
09:55

Drama Series

View Genre
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection
14:45
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection  (Part 2)
29:52
Marian Rees on producing Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection (Part 3)
14:48

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Marian Rees on working on The  Dennis Day Show
07:34
Marian Rees on to work as a production assistant on An Evening With Fred Astaire 
14:40

Reality TV

View Genre
Marian Rees on going to work on This is Your Life  hosted by Ralph Edwards
03:26

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
08:22
Marian Rees on producing Deadman's Curve
01:07
Marian Rees on producing The  Cracker Factory
02:45
Marian Rees on producing Orphan Train
05:22
Marian Rees on producing The Marva Collins Story
07:02
Marian Rees on producing Angel Dusted
04:28
Marian Rees on executive producing Miss All-American Beauty
06:52
Marian Rees on producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
16:28
Marian Rees on executive producing "Love Is Never Silent" for Hallmark Hall of Fame  (Part 2)
07:06
Marian Rees on executive producing Foxfire  starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy
03:51
Marian Rees on executive producing "Miss Rose White" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
04:27
Marian Rees on executive producing "The Shell Seekers" for Hallmark Hall of Fame
03:15
Marian Rees on executive producing Between Friends  with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett (Part 1)
08:11
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends  (Part 2)
06:29
Marian Rees on executive producing The Gift of Love  starring Andy Griffith 
02:27
Marian Rees on executive producing Is There Life Out There?
04:20
Marian Rees on executive producing When the Vows Break
02:36
Marian Rees on executive producing Ruby Bridges
14:48
Marian Rees on producing Ruby Bridges (Part 2)
13:41
People

Fred Astaire

View Person Page
Marian Rees on to work as a production assistant on An Evening With Fred Astaire 
14:40

Carol Burnett

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Between Friends  with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett (Part 1)
08:11
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends
06:29

Fielder Cook

View Person Page
Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook
06:36

Hume Cronyn

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Foxfire  starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy 
03:51

Dennis Day

View Person Page
Marian Rees on working on The  Dennis Day Show
07:35

Ralph Edwards

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on going to work on This is Your Life  hosted by Ralph Edwards
03:26

Redd Foxx

View Person Page
Marian Rees on working on Sanford and Son  starring Redd Foxx
03:57
Marian Rees on the casting of Sanford and Son:  Redd Foxx
02:08

Andy Griffith

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on executive producing The Gift of Love  starring Andy Griffith
02:27

Donald Hall

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on attempting to produce her passion project "Love Is Never Silent" and pitching it to Donald Hall
07:02

George Roy Hill

View Person Page
Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook
06:36
Marian Rees on working with George Roy Hill and Buzz Kulik on Lux Video Theatre
02:27

Anne Hopkins

View Person Page
Marian Rees on her producing partner Anne Hopkins
05:13

Fay Kanin

View Person Page
Marian Rees on her mentor Fay Kanin and her advice to create her own company
04:04

Buzz Kulik

View Person Page
Marian Rees on working with George Roy Hill and Buzz Kulik on Lux Video Theatre
02:27

Cloris Leachman

View Person Page
Marian Rees on the production of Miss All-American Beauty starring Cloris Leachman and Jayne Meadows
01:45

Norman Lear

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on joining Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear
03:14
Marian Rees on the overriding mission of Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, when it started
03:13
Marian Rees on Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, being on the Paramount lot and Tandem producing a feature film
05:59
Marian Rees on her day-to-day duties during her early years at Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin
01:55
Marian Rees on Tandem productions producing feature films with Norman Lear
12:22
Marian Rees on being dismissed from Tandem Productions by Norman Lear
08:25

Jayne Meadows

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on the production of Miss All-American Beauty starring Cloris Leachman and Jayne Meadows
01:45

Don Nicholl

View Person Page
Marian Rees on leaving EMI for Nicholl Ross West
02:42
Marian Rees on the end of Nicholl Ross West and the death of Don Nicholl
01:39

Carroll O'Connor

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on casting Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family  and the rest of the cast
05:51
Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family:  Carroll O'Connor
00:53

Rob Reiner

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family:  Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers
01:29

Michael Ross

View Person Page
Marian Rees on leaving EMI for Nicholl Ross West
02:42
Marian Rees on the end of Nicholl Ross West and the death of Don Nicholl
01:39

Franklin J. Schaffner

View Person Page
Marian Rees on working on Lux Video Theatre in New York with Franklin Schaffner, George Roy Hill and Fielder Cook
06:36

Jean Stapleton

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on her role in the development of All in the Family  and casting Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker"
02:43
Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family:  Jean Stapleton
01:18

Sally Struthers

View Person Page
Marian Rees on the cast of All in the Family: Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers
01:29

Jessica Tandy

View Person Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Foxfire  starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy
03:51

Elizabeth Taylor

View Person Page
Marian Rees on executive producing Between Friends  with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett (Part 1)
08:11
Marian Rees on working with Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett on Between Friends
06:29

Cicely Tyson

View Person Page
Marian Rees on producing The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman  starring Cicely Tyson
08:22

Bernard West

View Person Page
Marian Rees on leaving EMI for Nicholl Ross West
02:42
Marian Rees on the end of Nicholl Ross West and the death of Don Nicholl
01:39

Demond Wilson

View Person Page
Marian Rees on the casting of Sanford and Son:  Demond Wilson
02:08

Bud Yorkin

View Interview Page
Marian Rees on joining Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear 
03:14
Marian Rees on the overriding mission of Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, when it started
03:13
Marian Rees on Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, being on the Paramount lot and Tandem producing a feature film
05:59
Marian Rees on her day-to-day duties during her early years at Tandem Productions, headed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin
01:55

All Interviews

Q
S