American Masters (2014 Season) – The Boomer List

Film Interviewee Quotes

Air date: 09/23/2014

American Masters: The Boomer List


Premieres nationally Tuesday, September 23, 9-10:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)


Film Interviewee Quotes

Editorial usage note: Quotes must run with mandatory source credit:

American Masters: The Boomer List by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders


Tim O’Brien (b. 1946), Vietnam vet / author

“I can’t cop out by saying, ‘Well, I don’t know if I killed anybody.’ I was part of the war. I’m responsible. And so was all of America in the end.”


Deepak Chopra, M.D., (b. 1947), New Age guru

“My colleagues thought I was an embarrassment because I was talking about mind, body, spirit. So I was called a quack. I was called a fraud, which I initially resented, but then I got used to it.”


Samuel L. Jackson (b. 1948), actor

“Everything that I’ve gone through informs me and my opinions in a way, I guess because I am a child of segregation. I lived through it. I lived in it. I was of it.”


Billy Joel (b. 1949), singer-songwriter

“Our parents’ generation had it a lot tougher than we did. They had to live through the Depression, World War II, and then they had to, you know, try to pick up the pieces of their lives and bring up their children. And, it was a great example for us. I guess we grew up with a certain amount of the ethics our parents had, which is, you know: work hard, make your own way, be independent.”


Steve Wozniak (b. 1950), co-founder, Apple Computer

“What Steve Jobs and I did—and at the same time Bill Gates and Paul Allen did—we had no savings accounts, no friends that could loan us money. But we had ideas, and I wanted all my life to be a part of a revolution.”


Tommy Hilfiger (b. 1951), fashion designer

“I saw my future. I pictured it, but didn’t quite know how to get there. But I knew that I should never give up.”


Amy Tan (b. 1952), author

“My mother didn’t teach me lessons about being Chinese as strongly as she did the notion of who I was as a female.”


Eve Ensler (b. 1953), playwright

“I think about Marvin Gaye and ‘Sexual Healing.’ What a radical idea that sex was healing. I learned my politics through that music.”


Julieanna Richardson (b. 1954), founder, The HistoryMakers

“The turbulence of the 1960s set the ground for our generation to really soar. There’s no doubt that we are the beneficiaries of those who came before us. We are the affirmative action babies.”


Maria Shriver (b. 1955), journalist

“I was raised by a formidable woman. She always pushed me to be competitive in a man’s world. That’s maybe one of the attractions to journalism in the beginning. It was a male profession, and I was comfortable in that.”


Kim Cattrall (b. 1956), actor

“As a young actress, it was very frustrating because if we stood up for what we believed, we were thought of as being difficult or a bitch. And then the word passionate got introduced…”


Virginia Rometty (b. 1957), CEO, IBM

“One of the most important things for any leader is to never let anyone else define who you are. And you define who you are. I never think of myself as being a woman CEO of this company. I think of myself as a steward of a great institution.”


Ellen Ochoa (b. 1958), Director, Johnson Space Center

“I was born in 1958, the same year NASA was established, which I like to think of as not a coincidence. I was 11 when they landed on the moon, Apollo Eleven. And, of course, everybody in the whole world was watching that. But I can tell you, at that time, nobody ever asked a girl, ‘Is that something you want to grow up and do?’”


Ronnie Lott (b. 1959), athlete

“Trying to be the best. Failing. Getting back up. Those characteristics are going to allow you to make great decisions. They are going to allow you to compete. They are going to allow you to achieve your best. That’s the American dream.”


Erin Brockovich (b. 1960), environmentalist

“Had there not been the film, my name would not represent somebody that’s out there fighting for the environment.”


Peter Staley (b. 1961), AIDS activist

“AIDS forced the gay community out of the closet. It’s one of the great American civil disobedience movements.”


Rosie O’Donnell (b. 1962), entertainer

“Public school teachers in Long Island, New York, saved my life in the ’70s. They were involved and invested and helpful. One took me into her family and loved me back to life. She taught me that love is not formed and families are not formed by blood. That love makes a family.”


David LaChapelle (b. 1963), artist

“What’s shocking is cruelty and torture, and that’s become our entertainment. Kids can play violent video games, but God forbid they look at a naked woman. That’s pornography, that’s perverse. No!”


John Leguizamo (b. 1964), actor

“I wasn’t supposed to make it. I just wasn’t. Not statistically. I didn’t see my people anywhere that was important, except in the news, which is where you don’t want to be. I just didn’t feel like I was part of the American fabric.”



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