American Masters (2012 Season) – Harper Lee: Hey, Boo

Production Bios

Air date: 09/18/2018

Mary McDonagh Murphy
Director, Producer and Writer

Mary McDonagh Murphy is an independent documentary director, writer, author, and television producer. Her most recent documentary is <>b>Harper Lee: Hey, Boo, released theatrically in 20 cities by First Run Features. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called Hey, Boo “an enlightened love letter to the novel,” and noted its lengthy, never-seen-before interviews with Harper Lee’s sister and her close friends. Booklist magazine, the review journal of the American Library Association, named the DVD “best video of 2011.” She is the author of The New York Times bestselling bookScout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of To Kill a Mockingbird, published by Harper Collins.

Murphy, a former producer at CBS News where she won six Emmy Awards, speaks frequently at schools and libraries across the country. Her other documentaries include Cry For Help, about adolescent depression and suicide, for PBS; Digital Days, an examination of the Internet’s impact on the newspaper industry, and Before Your Eyes: Don’t Take My Daddy, a chronicle of deportation proceedings against three former members of the Irish Republican Army, which aired in primetime on CBS.

Her production company, Mary Murphy & Company LLC, is responsible for numerous museum and exhibition videos, and book and author videos, including a feature-length biography of bestselling author Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) for schools and libraries, Breaking News: How the Associated Press has covered War, Peace and Everything Else, The Translator: A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari, and Shannon, a novel by Frank Delaney. Her stories about golfer Greg Norman and the history of the Sweet n’ Low company aired on CNBC, and a profile of bestselling young adult author Rick Riordan aired recently on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams. She has created, produced and directed two television pilots and works as a consultant. She is raising money for her next documentary and writing a comic novel.

Murphy has written for Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, New York Post, and Publishers Weekly. A native of Rhode Island, she is a graduate of Wesleyan University and was a John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University. She lives in Scarborough, N.Y. with her husband, Bob Minzesheimer, and their two children.

Susan Lacy
Series Creator and Executive Producer

Susan Lacy has been an award-winning originator of primetime public television programs since 1979. As the 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, those who have made an indelible impact on the American landscape. Now celebrating its 26th 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 Myselfearned 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. She recently produced LENNONYC, a film exploring John Lennon’s life in New York City, and is currently directing a film on David Geffen.

Under her leadership, American Masters received the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Series in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2011 as well as 15 other Primetime Emmy Awards – 5 for Outstanding Nonfiction Specials and the other 10 in various craft categories. The series received the 2012 Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television, in addition to 11 Peabody Awards for John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen, Unknown Chaplin, Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow, Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, Alexander Calder, F. Scott Fitzgerald: Winter Dreams, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, LENNONYC, and A Letter to EliaAmerican Masters also received Grammy Awards for Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors, 40 additional Emmy nominations, an Academy Award and four 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 and worked as director of program development withThe American Playhouse, where she was a founding member. Lacy then ran the East Coast office of Robert Redford’s 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 honored again in Washington, DC, in 2010 as the recipient of the Cine Golden Eagle Lifetime Achievement Award. She presently serves on the board of the Film Forum in New York City. She served on the board of governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for two terms and was a trustee of the Independent Documentary Association. Lacy is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Independent Features Project and New York Women in Film & Television.

Lacy holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Virginia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an MA in American Studies from George Washington University. She was a Graduate Teaching Fellow, a Smithsonian Fellow and completed a residency at the American Academy in Rome. In 1994, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Long Island University and in 1996, she was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year at Mary Washington College, the women’s college of the University of Virginia.