American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered
Premieres nationally Tuesday, December 2 at 8 p.m. on PBS. Holiday encore presentation Friday, December 26 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Writer, Director and Producer
Robert Trachtenberg has written, produced and directed several documentaries. He earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming for 2013’s American Masters — Mel Brooks: Make a Noise, a career-spanning documentary featuring exclusive interviews and complete access to Brooks’ film and photo archives. American Masters: On Cukor was the first feature-length film about legendary Hollywood director George Cukor. American Masters —Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer profiled the life and work of the innovative performer. Trachtenberg also wrote, produced and directed the Emmy-nominated American Masters — Cary Grant: A Class Apart, as well as a film about Hollywood pioneer Irving Thalberg. Specials directed by Trachtenberg have starred Mel Brooks, Alec Baldwin and Gene Wilder, as well as the eight-part series Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence, and AFI’s Master Class – The Art of Collaboration with guests including Steven Spielberg, composer John Williams, actor Mark Wahlberg and director David O. Russell.
Trachtenberg is a Los Angeles-based photographer specializing in portrait, entertainment and fashion photography. Editorial clients include Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Tatler and Glamour. Entertainment and fashion clients include Neiman-Marcus, NBC, HBO, ABC, TBS, TNT, TCM, Disney and MGM. Trachtenberg’s photos have been selected for numerous awards, including the American Photography Annual, Communication Arts and American Photo Magazine’s Images of the Year.
Trachtenberg is also the author of the bestselling book When I Knew, published by Harper Collins, and has contributed to T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
American Masters Series Executive Producer
For more than two decades, award-winning filmmaker Michael Kantor has created outstanding arts programs for television. He joined American Masters as the series’ executive producer April 30, 2014.
His most recent PBS documentary series, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, hosted by Liev Schreiber, premiered in fall 2013 and was nominated for an Emmy Award. Random House published the companion book. In January 2013, Kantor’s Peabody Award-winning, 90-minute film, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, aired as part of the Great Performances series on PBS. Narrated by Joel Grey, it included performances by Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, David Hyde Pierce, Marc Shaiman and many other Broadway talents. In 2012, Kantor produced The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater with Michael Tilson Thomas, which aired on PBS and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Kantor served as executive producer of the 90-minute special Give Me the Banjo, hosted by Steve Martin, and created Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, the critically acclaimed six-part documentary series, hosted by Billy Crystal, that debuted in January 2009. His script for episode four, When I’m Bad, I’m Better: The Groundbreakers, co-authored with Laurence Maslon, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. His landmark six-part series Broadway: The American Musical was hosted by Julie Andrews and honored with the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series in 2005. That same year, he created three hours of DVD extras for 20th Century Fox’s 40th anniversary release of The Sound of Music.
Kantor wrote, directed and produced the award-winning profile American Masters: Quincy Jones: In the Pocket. With Stephen Ives, he co-directed Cornerstone: An Interstate Adventure for HBO, and produced The West (Executive Producer Ken Burns). His 20 years of work in documentaries include projects as varied as EGG: the arts show, Coney Island, The Donner Party, Margaret Sanger and Ric Burns’ New York series. As a writer, Kantor created Lullaby of Broadway: Opening Night on 42nd Street, co-authored the companion books to Broadway (Bulfinch) and Make ‘Em Laugh (Grand Central Publishing) and has published numerous essays and articles. He is president of Almo Inc., a company that distributes The American Film Theatre series, which includes Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (starring Katharine Hepburn), Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh (Lee Marvin) and Chekhov’s Three Sisters (Laurence Olivier) among its titles. Kantor has served as a Tony nominator and teaches documentary filmmaking at the School for Visual Arts in New York City.