American Masters (2013 Season) – Philip Roth: Unmasked


Air date: 03/29/2013

American Masters

Philip Roth: Unmasked


Premieres nationally Friday, March 29 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS

(check local listings)


Film Interviewees

(in order of appearance)


Claudia Roth Pierpont

Critic and Staff Writer, The New Yorker

Claudia Roth Pierpont has been a Staff Writer of The New Yorker since 2004. The subjects of her articles have ranged from the Ballets Russes to the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. A feminist and a scholar, she is the author of Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World in which she juxtaposes the lives and works of women writers, including Hannah Arendt, Gertrude Stein and Anaïs Nin. Pierpont has been the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library. She lives in New York City and is currently working on a book about Philip Roth.


Nicole Krauss


Nicole Krauss has been hailed by the New York Times as “one of America’s most important novelists,” despite being only 38 years old. She is the author of two international bestsellers: Great House, a finalist for the National Book Award and the Orange Prize, and The History of Love, which won the Saroyan Prize for International Literature and France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best Foreign Book Prize), and was short-listed for the Orange, Médicis, and Femina prizes. She was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and in 2010 she was chosen by The New Yorker for their “20 Under 40” list. Her books have been translated into more than 35 languages.


Jonathan Franzen


Jonathan Franzen is one of America’s most celebrated novelists. His 2001 novel, The Corrections, drew widespread critical acclaim, earned him a National Book Award, and was a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist. His most recent novel, Freedom (2010), coincided with a much-debated appearance on the cover of Time magazine alongside the headline “Great American Novelist.” Franzen also writes essays for The New Yorker. His 1996 Harper’s essay “Perchance to Dream” bemoaned the state of contemporary literature. 2001’s selection of The Corrections for Oprah Winfrey’s book club led to a much-publicized feud with the talk show host. In recent years, Franzen has become recognized for his purveyance of opinions on everything from social networking services such as Twitter to the disintegration of Europe and the self-destruction of America. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, Calif.


Dr. Bob Heyman

Roth’s Friend

Dr. Bob Heyman, a dentist, was a classmate of Roth’s at Weequahic High School in Newark, N.J., whose students at the time mostly came from Jewish families. Still one of Roth’s closest friends, Dr. Heyman recalls him as an extremely bright, lusty, fun-loving friend who viewed life with the caustic humor that characterizes Alexander Portnoy.


Jane Brown Maas

Roth’s Friend

Jane Brown Maas is one of the most respected names in advertising in America. She is best known for her direction of the “I Love New York” campaign, which changed the image of New York City and revitalized its tourism economy. As a Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather, Maas worked on a number of major advertising campaigns, from American Express to Cunard Lines. She is co-author of the classic advertising guidebook How to Advertise, which has sold over 150,000 copies and been translated into 17 languages. Maas is also the author of the memoir Mad Women: the Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the Sixties and Beyond, Better Brochures and the best-selling autobiography Adventures of An Advertising Woman. She was president of a New York advertising agency in the 1980s, a Matrix Award winner, and a New York Advertising Woman of the Year. Maas met Philip Roth while both were studying at Bucknell University and they have remained friends ever since.


Martin Garbus

Roth’s Friend

Martin Garbus is one of America’s leading trial attorneys. He has tried cases involving constitutional, criminal, copyright, and intellectual property law, and has appeared before the United States Supreme Court as well as trial and appellate courts throughout the United States. He has written numerous briefs that have been submitted to the United States Supreme Court, a number of which have resulted in changes in the law on a nationwide basis. He is the author of six books and over 50 articles. He met Philip Roth while serving in the Army and they have remained friends ever since.


Nathan Englander


Nathan Englander is the author of the recently published short story collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank. Brought up into a closed Orthodox Jewish community in Long Island, N.Y., he attended a Yeshiva before traveling at the age of 18 to Jerusalem and opening up to secular culture. The conflict between Orthodox and secular moral perspectives inspired his first collection of short stories, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, which was a huge critical and commercial success. His short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post, as well as numerous editions of The Best American Short Stories. Translated into more than a dozen languages, Englander was selected as one of “20 Writers for the 21st Century” by The New Yorker, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a PEN/Malamud Award. He’s been a fellow at the Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and at The American Academy of Berlin. Englander also teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Hunter College and teaches a course for NYU’s Writers in Paris program. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Madison, Wis.


Mia Farrow

Roth’s Friend, Actress, Singer & Humanitarian

Mia Farrow is an American actress, singer, humanitarian, and former fashion model. She has appeared in more than 45 films and won numerous awards. Farrow is also known for her extensive humanitarian work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She is involved in humanitarian activities in Darfur, Chad, and the Central African Republic. In 2008, Time magazine named her one of the most influential people in the world. She lives in Connecticut and is one of Philip Roth’s neighbors. They have been friends for decades.