Michael Jordan, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe. They're not just famous entertainers, they're American Icons. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the making and un-making of American celebrities. Also, what happened when an aspiring young writer went to work for her idol, Lillian Hellman.
David Halberstam, author of "Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made," tells Steve Paulson that Michael Jordan combines outstanding athletic ability and maniacally competitive instincts with beauty, charm and intelligence to create a fabulously successful corporate pitchman and new kind of American icon. Also, Richard Shenkman explains to Jim Fleming that Bill Clinton is brilliant at making weakness his great strength, and points to Jimmy Carter as a President who was too moral to be effective. Shenkman's book is "Presidential Ambition: How the Presidents Gained Power, Kept Power and Got Things Done."SEGMENT 2:
As a teenager, Rosemary Mahoney spent a summer working as a housekeeper for her idol, writer Lillian Hellman. Mahoney tells Judith Strasser that it was a disaster: she knew nothing about being a housekeeper, and Lillian Hellman was not the noble, honest heroic figure she'd imagined. Mahoney's memoir is "A Likely Story."SEGMENT 3:
Cultural critic David Leeming tells Jim Fleming that the quintessential American icon is the outlaw. Leaming is the co-editor (with Jake Page) of "Myths, Legends and Folktales of America." Also, Peter Guralnick author of "Careless Love," the second volume in his definitive biography of Elvis Presley, tells Steve Paulson how Elvis' career and music developed after his stint in the Army, and says that Presley's manager - Colonel Tom Parker - was not the villain he is sometimes made out to be.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-02-07-A.
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