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Entertainers

Entertainers

Academy of Achievement

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Plays
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Latest Episodes

Gloria Estefan

The Cuban-American singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan is the most successful Latin music artist in the United States; she has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. Born in Cuba, she came to the United States at the age of one when her family fled the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. She began singing professionally at age 17, with the band Miami Sound Machine. Led by her husband, Emilio Estefan, the band experienced international success in the Spanish-speaking world long before their breakthrough English-language hit "Conga" in 1985. With Gloria as lead vocalist, the band enjoyed a string of top-ten hits, including the number one single, "Words Get in the Way." As Gloria's fame grew, her name replaced the band's on the album covers, although she continues to compose, record and perform with her husband and other members of the band. In 1989 she released her bestselling album to date, Cuts Both Ways. A few months later, she was severely injured in a tour bus a...

13 min1997 JUN 26
Comments
Gloria Estefan

James Earl Jones

When a five-year-old James Earl Jones moved with his grandparents from rural Mississippi to frosty Michigan, he developed a stutter so severe that he refused to speak aloud, even in school. One day in high school, an understanding teacher, impressed by a poem Jones had written, dared him to recite it in front of the class. When he recited without faltering, teacher and students were amazed by the power of the voice Jones had kept bottled up inside him. Today that voice is one of the best known in the world. Through an arduous program of public speaking, James Earl Jones overcame his handicap, and today he is one of America's most celebrated actors, renowned for what critics have called "the voice of the century." His performance in the play and film The Great White Hope made him a star. He has won multiple Tony, Emmy and Grammy Awards for his stage, television and recording work. He has been heard by millions as the voice of Mustafa in The Lion King, and of Darth Vader in the Star W...

13 min1996 JUN 28
Comments
James Earl Jones

Tommy Tune

Actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, theatre director Tommy Tune has won nine Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts. Tune was born in Texas to oil rig worker Jim Tune and Eva Mae Clark. At age five, he began tap, acrobatics and ballet lessons and he later majored in drama at the University of Texas. Tune moved to New York City and, in 1965, made his Broadway debut as a performer in the musical “Baker Street” and garnered raves and his first Tony Award in “Seesaw.” He then choreographed “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine” which earned him two more Tonys. He went on to direct and choreograph two more hit musicals, “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies” and followed with an international tour of “Tommy Tune Tonite!” (a one-man song and dance extravaganza). In Tune’s 1997 memoir “Footnotes” he writes about what drives him as a performer, and offers stories about being openly gay in the world of theater. This 6...

11 min1994 JUN 3
Comments
Tommy Tune

Whoopi Goldberg

Today, Whoopi Goldberg is one of America's best known and most cherished entertainers. Her films, The Color Purple, Ghost and Sister Act have won her an international following. Her appearances as host of the annual Oscar broadcast and as a regular on such television programs as Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Hollywood Squares have brought her into the homes of millions of Americans. Over the course of a turbulent early life, she survived poverty, drug addiction, single motherhood and a stint on welfare in the 1970s to become the world's most highly paid actress in the early 1990s. She has also become a highly visible spokesperson for humanitarian causes, campaigning for the rights of children and the homeless, and supporting the struggles against AIDS and substance abuse. Over the course of her career, Whoopi Goldberg has achieved success as a comedian, dramatic actress, writer and producer, and has won the top honors in her profession, including an Oscar and the Mark Twain...

11 min1994 JUN 1
Comments
Whoopi Goldberg

Barbra Streisand

The most honored entertainer of our era, Barbra Streisand has made an indelible mark on our culture as a singer, actress, film producer, director, writer and champion of social causes. A high school honor student from Brooklyn, New York, she threw herself into show business right out of high school and rocketed to fame with a Grammy-winning record album and a starring role in the Broadway show Funny Girl. She reprised the role on screen, winning a Best Actress Oscar for her very first film. She won a second Oscar for composing the song Evergreen for her 1976 hit film A Star is Born. Her soaring voice, crystalline diction and passionate phrasing have made her a premier interpreter of American song. With number one albums in five consecutive decades, she has survived the ever-changing fashions of popular music, winning eight Grammy Awards and selling more records than other female artist in history. With her 1983 film Yentl, she became the first woman to produce, direct, write and sta...

15 min1992 JUN 27
Comments
Barbra Streisand

Judith Jamison

Judith Jamison is the Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the best-known and most popular modern dance company in the United States. The daughter of a sheet metal worker and teacher, Jamison was sent to classical dance classes at the age of six. Jamison later attended the Philadelphia Dance Academy, where she was recruited Agnes de Mille for the American Ballet Theatre. When the dance production closed, she did a stint as an amusement ride operator at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Jamison was invited by Alvin Ailey to join his company as a principal dancer. For the next 15 years, she thrilled and captivated audiences around the world as “modern dance’s first box-office star.” Jamison then went on to star in the hit Broadway musical “Sophisticated Ladies” based on Duke Ellington’s music. In 1988, she returned to the Ailey troupe to carry on the legacy of its founder. Jamison rejuvenated the company and extended the heritage of black expressio...

13 min1992 JUN 27
Comments
Judith Jamison

Dolly Parton

An internationally renowned icon of American music, Dolly Parton is one of her country's most versatile and best-loved entertainers. Born on a farm in the hardscrabble hill country of Eastern Tennessee, she sang and wrote songs from early childhood. By age ten, she was singing on a radio station in nearby Knoxville. The day after she graduated from high school, she headed for Nashville, with a portfolio of original songs. Her career took off when country star Porter Wagoner featured her on his syndicated TV show and in a memorable series of recorded duets. Parton quickly blossomed into one of the best-selling artists in country music history, writing such classic songs as "Coat of Many Colors," "Jolene" and the mega-hit "I Will Always Love You." She moved from music to movies with acclaimed roles in the films Nine to Five and Steel Magnolias. She has also enjoyed success on television as host of her own weekly program and a popular series of Christmas specials. In 1986, she opened t...

16 min1992 JUN 26
Comments
Dolly Parton

Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner won twin Oscars for producing and directing the 1990 blockbuster Dances With Wolves, a powerful tale of the tragic interaction of Native Americans and the expanding United States in the 19th century West. The film was a high point in the remarkable string of hits that made Kevin Costner the box office champion of an era. Born in Los Angeles, his family moved often when he was a child. Buy his own account, he was a shy, withdrawn youngster. He discovered acting while studying at Cal State Fullerton. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles, with no contacts in the entertainment industry, to pursue a career as an actor. He won a substantial role in the film The Big Chill, only to see his part disappear in the editing process. He made his first major impression in the western Silverado and followed it up with a starring role in the period crime drama The Untouchables. A former high school baseball player, he enjoyed major hits with starring roles in the baseball-themed f...

10 min1992 JUN 26
Comments
Kevin Costner

Jessye Norman

One of the most distinguished musical artist of our time, the singer Jessye Norman was born in Augusta, Georgia. As a ten-year-old child, she was spellbound by a recording of the great contralto Marian Anderson. Inspired by Anderson's recordings and autobiography, she resolved to become a classical singer herself. At age 16, she won a full scholarship to study voice at Howard University. After graduate music studies at Peabody Conservatory, she went to Europe, where she was soon discovered by the Continent's leading conductors and impresarios. She made her operatic debut in Tannhauser at Berlin's Deutsche Oper. A dramatic soprano with a special affinity for the German repertoire, she has won acclaim in the operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss. Equally at home in French and Italian, she has enchanted audiences as Bizet's Carmen and as Mozart's Countess Almaviva. In addition to her concert roles. Her recitals and recordings have included American spirituals, French chansons and German...

8 min1992 JUN 26
Comments
Jessye Norman

Audrey Hepburn

As an international film star, Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) personified chic, cosmopolitan elegance, but she spent the last decades of her life traveling to the corners of the earth most afflicted by poverty, hunger and disease. Born in Belgium to a Dutch mother and a British father, she grew up in the Netherlands during the German occupation, and her memory of the hunger and deprivation of those years motivated her later efforts as a champion of the world's children. She received the Best Actress Oscar for her first appearance in an American film, Roman Holiday. After a dazzling career as the star of films such as Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady, she traveled the world as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund. In 1991, she addressed the Academy of Achievement at the United Nations, where she shared her views on the responsibility of service to the world's children.

7 min1991 JUN 29
Comments
Audrey Hepburn

Latest Episodes

Gloria Estefan

The Cuban-American singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan is the most successful Latin music artist in the United States; she has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. Born in Cuba, she came to the United States at the age of one when her family fled the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. She began singing professionally at age 17, with the band Miami Sound Machine. Led by her husband, Emilio Estefan, the band experienced international success in the Spanish-speaking world long before their breakthrough English-language hit "Conga" in 1985. With Gloria as lead vocalist, the band enjoyed a string of top-ten hits, including the number one single, "Words Get in the Way." As Gloria's fame grew, her name replaced the band's on the album covers, although she continues to compose, record and perform with her husband and other members of the band. In 1989 she released her bestselling album to date, Cuts Both Ways. A few months later, she was severely injured in a tour bus a...

13 min1997 JUN 26
Comments
Gloria Estefan

James Earl Jones

When a five-year-old James Earl Jones moved with his grandparents from rural Mississippi to frosty Michigan, he developed a stutter so severe that he refused to speak aloud, even in school. One day in high school, an understanding teacher, impressed by a poem Jones had written, dared him to recite it in front of the class. When he recited without faltering, teacher and students were amazed by the power of the voice Jones had kept bottled up inside him. Today that voice is one of the best known in the world. Through an arduous program of public speaking, James Earl Jones overcame his handicap, and today he is one of America's most celebrated actors, renowned for what critics have called "the voice of the century." His performance in the play and film The Great White Hope made him a star. He has won multiple Tony, Emmy and Grammy Awards for his stage, television and recording work. He has been heard by millions as the voice of Mustafa in The Lion King, and of Darth Vader in the Star W...

13 min1996 JUN 28
Comments
James Earl Jones

Tommy Tune

Actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, theatre director Tommy Tune has won nine Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts. Tune was born in Texas to oil rig worker Jim Tune and Eva Mae Clark. At age five, he began tap, acrobatics and ballet lessons and he later majored in drama at the University of Texas. Tune moved to New York City and, in 1965, made his Broadway debut as a performer in the musical “Baker Street” and garnered raves and his first Tony Award in “Seesaw.” He then choreographed “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine” which earned him two more Tonys. He went on to direct and choreograph two more hit musicals, “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies” and followed with an international tour of “Tommy Tune Tonite!” (a one-man song and dance extravaganza). In Tune’s 1997 memoir “Footnotes” he writes about what drives him as a performer, and offers stories about being openly gay in the world of theater. This 6...

11 min1994 JUN 3
Comments
Tommy Tune

Whoopi Goldberg

Today, Whoopi Goldberg is one of America's best known and most cherished entertainers. Her films, The Color Purple, Ghost and Sister Act have won her an international following. Her appearances as host of the annual Oscar broadcast and as a regular on such television programs as Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Hollywood Squares have brought her into the homes of millions of Americans. Over the course of a turbulent early life, she survived poverty, drug addiction, single motherhood and a stint on welfare in the 1970s to become the world's most highly paid actress in the early 1990s. She has also become a highly visible spokesperson for humanitarian causes, campaigning for the rights of children and the homeless, and supporting the struggles against AIDS and substance abuse. Over the course of her career, Whoopi Goldberg has achieved success as a comedian, dramatic actress, writer and producer, and has won the top honors in her profession, including an Oscar and the Mark Twain...

11 min1994 JUN 1
Comments
Whoopi Goldberg

Barbra Streisand

The most honored entertainer of our era, Barbra Streisand has made an indelible mark on our culture as a singer, actress, film producer, director, writer and champion of social causes. A high school honor student from Brooklyn, New York, she threw herself into show business right out of high school and rocketed to fame with a Grammy-winning record album and a starring role in the Broadway show Funny Girl. She reprised the role on screen, winning a Best Actress Oscar for her very first film. She won a second Oscar for composing the song Evergreen for her 1976 hit film A Star is Born. Her soaring voice, crystalline diction and passionate phrasing have made her a premier interpreter of American song. With number one albums in five consecutive decades, she has survived the ever-changing fashions of popular music, winning eight Grammy Awards and selling more records than other female artist in history. With her 1983 film Yentl, she became the first woman to produce, direct, write and sta...

15 min1992 JUN 27
Comments
Barbra Streisand

Judith Jamison

Judith Jamison is the Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the best-known and most popular modern dance company in the United States. The daughter of a sheet metal worker and teacher, Jamison was sent to classical dance classes at the age of six. Jamison later attended the Philadelphia Dance Academy, where she was recruited Agnes de Mille for the American Ballet Theatre. When the dance production closed, she did a stint as an amusement ride operator at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Jamison was invited by Alvin Ailey to join his company as a principal dancer. For the next 15 years, she thrilled and captivated audiences around the world as “modern dance’s first box-office star.” Jamison then went on to star in the hit Broadway musical “Sophisticated Ladies” based on Duke Ellington’s music. In 1988, she returned to the Ailey troupe to carry on the legacy of its founder. Jamison rejuvenated the company and extended the heritage of black expressio...

13 min1992 JUN 27
Comments
Judith Jamison

Dolly Parton

An internationally renowned icon of American music, Dolly Parton is one of her country's most versatile and best-loved entertainers. Born on a farm in the hardscrabble hill country of Eastern Tennessee, she sang and wrote songs from early childhood. By age ten, she was singing on a radio station in nearby Knoxville. The day after she graduated from high school, she headed for Nashville, with a portfolio of original songs. Her career took off when country star Porter Wagoner featured her on his syndicated TV show and in a memorable series of recorded duets. Parton quickly blossomed into one of the best-selling artists in country music history, writing such classic songs as "Coat of Many Colors," "Jolene" and the mega-hit "I Will Always Love You." She moved from music to movies with acclaimed roles in the films Nine to Five and Steel Magnolias. She has also enjoyed success on television as host of her own weekly program and a popular series of Christmas specials. In 1986, she opened t...

16 min1992 JUN 26
Comments
Dolly Parton

Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner won twin Oscars for producing and directing the 1990 blockbuster Dances With Wolves, a powerful tale of the tragic interaction of Native Americans and the expanding United States in the 19th century West. The film was a high point in the remarkable string of hits that made Kevin Costner the box office champion of an era. Born in Los Angeles, his family moved often when he was a child. Buy his own account, he was a shy, withdrawn youngster. He discovered acting while studying at Cal State Fullerton. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles, with no contacts in the entertainment industry, to pursue a career as an actor. He won a substantial role in the film The Big Chill, only to see his part disappear in the editing process. He made his first major impression in the western Silverado and followed it up with a starring role in the period crime drama The Untouchables. A former high school baseball player, he enjoyed major hits with starring roles in the baseball-themed f...

10 min1992 JUN 26
Comments
Kevin Costner

Jessye Norman

One of the most distinguished musical artist of our time, the singer Jessye Norman was born in Augusta, Georgia. As a ten-year-old child, she was spellbound by a recording of the great contralto Marian Anderson. Inspired by Anderson's recordings and autobiography, she resolved to become a classical singer herself. At age 16, she won a full scholarship to study voice at Howard University. After graduate music studies at Peabody Conservatory, she went to Europe, where she was soon discovered by the Continent's leading conductors and impresarios. She made her operatic debut in Tannhauser at Berlin's Deutsche Oper. A dramatic soprano with a special affinity for the German repertoire, she has won acclaim in the operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss. Equally at home in French and Italian, she has enchanted audiences as Bizet's Carmen and as Mozart's Countess Almaviva. In addition to her concert roles. Her recitals and recordings have included American spirituals, French chansons and German...

8 min1992 JUN 26
Comments
Jessye Norman

Audrey Hepburn

As an international film star, Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) personified chic, cosmopolitan elegance, but she spent the last decades of her life traveling to the corners of the earth most afflicted by poverty, hunger and disease. Born in Belgium to a Dutch mother and a British father, she grew up in the Netherlands during the German occupation, and her memory of the hunger and deprivation of those years motivated her later efforts as a champion of the world's children. She received the Best Actress Oscar for her first appearance in an American film, Roman Holiday. After a dazzling career as the star of films such as Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady, she traveled the world as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund. In 1991, she addressed the Academy of Achievement at the United Nations, where she shared her views on the responsibility of service to the world's children.

7 min1991 JUN 29
Comments
Audrey Hepburn
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