American Masters (2010 Season) – LENNONYC

Production Biographies

Air date: 10/09/2020

American Masters LENNONYC




Multi-media Artist and Peace Activist


Yoko Ono is an award-winning multi-media artist and peace activist, who constantly challenges and stretches the traditional boundaries of sculpture, painting, theater and music.   Her seminal performance art in the early 1960’s, experimental films and collaborative music with John Lennon in the 1970’s and international one-woman shows and retrospectives during the 1980’s and 1990’s illustrate her varied career.


Some of Yoko Ono’s achievements include:


Grammy Award 1982 – “Double Fantasy” Album of the Year;  Yoko Ono and John Lennon – Artists and Producers

MOJO Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 – from MOJO music magazine. London

Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement in Art  2009, awarded by Venice Bienniale, Venice,  Italy

ArtTable Award 2010 – Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts


Yoko Ono is well known for her peace initiatives, first with events created with her husband John Lennon, Bed-In for Peace and War Is Over! (If You Want It), and more recently with her IMAGINE PEACE TOWER in Iceland and participatory Wish Trees throughout the world.


Reflecting on her reputation for being outrageous, Yoko smiles and says, “I do have to rely on my own judgment, although to some people my judgment seems a little out of sync.  I have my own rhythm and my own timing, and that’s simply how it is.”





Michael Epstein is the director and producer of several acclaimed documentary films including the Academy Award-nominated The Battle Over Citizen Kane, which he co-directed with Thomas Lennon.  He is also the producer/director of Combat Diary: The Marines of Lima Company for which he received an Emmy nomination, and Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven’s Gate.  His previous documentaries for American Masters include the Emmy Award-winning Hitchcock, Selznick & The End of Hollywood, and None Without Sin, which tells the story of the Hollywood blacklist through the friendship between Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and their two daughters.





Jessica Levin is the producer of award winning documentary films including No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005), Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens (2007) and Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind (2003), all for American Masters. Her work also includes Wingspan (2001), the story of Paul McCartney’s band Wings and Back in the US (2002), a concert film chronicling Paul McCartney’s 2002 US tour.



Series Creator and Executive Producer (American Masters)



Susan Lacy, Series Creator and Executive producer of American Masters, she has been

responsible for the production and national broadcast of more than 160 documentary films about our country’s artistic and cultural giants. Now celebrating its 22nd season on PBS, American Masters has garnered unprecedented awards and is consistently recognized by television critics as “the best biographical series ever to appear on American television.”


In addition to her executive producing role, Lacy is an award-winning filmmaker. Her 2004 Judy Garland: By Myself earned her an Emmy award for writing and an Emmy nomination for directing. She wrote, directed and produced Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind (IDA nomination for Outstanding Documentary) and Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note (Emmy award and DGA nomination.) She produced the Peabody award-winning Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, directed and produced Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval, and directed and produced Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice – all for American Masters.


Under her leadership, American Masters has received the Primetime Emmy for

Outstanding Non-Fiction Series in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 as well as 16 other Primetime Emmy awards in various craft categories, with an overall total of 42 Emmy nominations. Lacy received Grammy awards for Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and three Oscar nominations.


Lacy’s career in public television began in 1979, as deputy director of performance programs at Thirteen/WNET New York. She was senior program executive for Great

Performances, worked as director of program development with The American

Playhouse, where she was a founding member, and then ran the east coast office of the Sundance Institute, from 1984 to 1987. She was a consulting producer at Time-Life Video during the launch of Time-Warner’s new initiatives in long-form documentary production. Lacy also led programs at both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Lacy was one of the select 2005 honorees at the Museum of Television & Radio’s “She Made It” event, which recognized 50 exceptional women who have created and informed the genre, and a 2008 Washington, DC Women of Vision Awards recipient, honoring those in film and video who inspire and mentor. She was again honored in Washington, DC in 2010 as the recipient of the Cine Golden Eagle Lifetime Achievement Award. She serves on the board of governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, on the board of the Film Forum and is a trustee of the Independent Documentary Association. Lacy is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Independent Features Project and New York Women in Film & Television.