Leading Ladies

DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL – Wednesday 28 October, 8.30pm

Delve into the lives of the world’s most celebrated women! Get a personal perspective on some of the most impressive women in art, entertainment, politics, business, science, journalism, and sports. Learn about their ups and downs, heartaches and happy endings.

EP4 – PATTI DUKE: The whole world knew her but she didn’t know herself. Even though Patty Duke never dreamed about being an actress, this resilient performer has succeeded at entertaining generations of fans for over fifty years. Raised by an alcoholic father and manic-depressive mother, Anna Marie Duke was introduced to acting by her brother’s managers, John and Ethel Ross. Soon after, Anna Marie became Patty, the actress. She started off in commercials, a few movies and some bit parts, but her first big role came in 1951 when she was cast as Helen Keller in the Broadway version of The Miracle Worker. In 1962, the play was turned into a feature film, and Patty won an Academy Award for best supporting actress. At 16, she was the youngest person ever to win the award, but following this huge win, Duke began to privately unravel, and her family history of manic-depression began to plague her. She was drinking heavily drinking and abusing drugs, and attempted suicide several times. She continued her work and will be most remembered for her roll in Valley of the Dolls.

Documentary Channel – Wednesday 14 October, 8.30pm

From drama and terror to droll comedy, the career of actress Tippi Hedren has been meteoric, and eclectic. Model-turned-actress Tippi Hedren reveals intimate and fascinating details about being discovered by Alfred Hitchcock and her subsequent work in ‘The Birds’ and ‘Marnie’. She delves into what it is like playing mom to Melanie Griffith and working to save endangered animals through the Roar Foundation. After a few weeks of filming The Birds with Rod Taylor, director Alfred Hitchcock told Associated Press: “Tippi Hedren is really remarkable. She’s already reaching the lows and highs of terror.” The former New York fashion model was making her debut as an actress in a starring role in The Birds, and such high praise from the enigmatic master of cinema shock and suspense was rare indeed. “Like a dormant volcano we know one day is going to erupt,” Hitchcock described her. “Get a look at that girl, she’s going to be good. I gave her the leading part in The Birds. It is a big part. I think Svengali Hitch rides again.”

Documentary Channel – Wednesdays from 7 October, 8.30pm

Delve into the lives of the world’s most celebrated women! Get a personal perspective on some of the most impressive women in art, entertainment, politics, business, science, journalism, and sports. Learn about their ups and downs, heartaches and happy endings.

EP1 – MAE WEST: Why don’t you come up and see me sometime!

Mae West was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, and sex symbol. Known for her bawdy double entendres, West made a name for herself in Vaudeville and on the stage in New York before moving to Hollywood to become a comedienne, actress and writer in the motion picture industry. One of the more controversial stars of her day, West encountered many problems including censorship. When her cinematic career ended, she continued to perform on stage, in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, on radio and television, and recorded rock and roll albums.