Born Virginia Patterson Hensley in Winchester, Virginia, Patsy Cline defined modern country music by using her singular talent and heart‐wrenching emotional depth to break down barriers of gender, class and genre. In her music and her life, she set a standard of authenticity towards which artists still strive. After years of hard work to overcome industry gender biases and her own personal hardships and professional missteps, she achieved success, only to have it punctured by uncanny premonitions and her untimely death at age 30 (March 5, 1963).
The new documentary Patsy Cline: American Masters premieres nationwide beginning March 4th on PBS (check local listings, see below for confirmed airdates) during Women’s History Month as part of the 31st season of THIRTEEN’s American Masters series. 2017 marks the 85th anniversary of Cline’s birth (September 8, 1932).
Narrated by Rosanne Cash, Patsy Cline: American Masters examines the roots of Cline’s impact in both personal and cultural terms to illuminate how she arrived at a pivotal moment in the evolution of American culture and, with Decca Records producer Owen Bradley, synthesized country, pop and rock in a new way to create the Nashville Sound. With exclusive access to the Cline estate, the film features rare performances of such Cline classics as “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray,” “Come On In,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” “You Made Me Love You” and more. The documentary also features exclusive archival interviews with Cline’s contemporaries and new interviews with a wide range of artists who have been influenced by Cline: LeAnn Rimes, Kacey Musgraves, Rhiannon Giddens, Wanda Jackson, Bill Anderson, Beverly D’Angelo, Callie Khouri, Reba McEntire, Mickey Guyton, Terri Clark, and more.
Cline boldly bucked female conventions of the 1950s with her fashion sense, her decision to divorce, her support of fellow female artists, and her assertive ambition to get opportunities equal to those of her male Nashville peers, such as the same kind of headliner billing and radio airplay, particularly after breaking free of her unfavorable contract with Four Star Records. Six years after her national breakthrough on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS, 1957), she died in a plane crash returning home from a benefit performance. Her many posthumous honors include being the first solo female performer to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a U.S. postage stamp. She was also portrayed in the Oscar-winning feature film Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) by D’Angelo and in Sweet Dreams (1985) by Jessica Lange.
“It’s been such a privilege to tell the story of Patsy Cline.”
“It’s been such a privilege to tell the story of Patsy Cline. For me, her story exceeds her musical accomplishments. She is in a rare class of women who simply set out to achieve their dreams and through those efforts left an indelible mark,” states Emmy-nominated director and producer Barbara J. Hall (Song by Song, Titanic: Band of Courage).
“This film goes beyond the jukebox classics to show how Patsy Cline was really a gutsy pioneer,” says Michael Kantor, American Masters series executive producer.
Confirmed airdates for Patsy Cline: American Masters include:
- New York metro area: Saturday, March 4th at 9 pm and Sunday, March 5th at 10:30 pm on THIRTEEN
- San Francisco: Saturday, March 4th at 6 pm on KQED 9
- Denver: Monday, March 6th at 7 pm on Rocky Mountain PBS
- Minneapolis/St. Paul: Monday, March 6th at 7 pm on TPT 2
- Nashville: Monday, March 6th at 8:30 pm on Nashville Public Television
- Houston: Tuesday, March 7th at 7 pm on Houston Public Media
- Seattle: Saturday, March 11th at 7 pm on KCTS 9
- Phoenix: Sunday, March 12th at 7 pm on Arizona PBS
- Baltimore: Sunday, March 12th at 7:30 pm on MPT
- Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham: Monday, March 13th at 8 pm on UNC-TV
- Indianapolis: Tuesday, March 14th at 8 pm on WFYI
- Portland: Tuesday, March 14th at 9:30 pm on OPB TV
- Miami: Tuesday, March 14th at 10 pm on WPBT2
- Los Angeles: Thursday, March 16th at 9 pm on PBS SoCal
- Orlando: Thursday, March 16th at 9:30 pm on WUCF TV
Launched in 1986, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. The series’ 31st season on PBS features new documentaries about Dr. Maya Angelou (February 21st), Chef James Beard (May 19th) and Chef Jacques Pépin (May 26th). To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, the American Masters website offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, educational resources and In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive: previously unreleased interviews of luminaries discussing America’s most enduring artistic and cultural giants as well as the American Masters Podcast. The series is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel.
“This film goes beyond the jukebox classics to show how Patsy Cline was really a gutsy pioneer.”
Patsy Cline: American Masters is a production of TH Entertainment LLC. Barbara J. Hall is director and producer. Gregory Hall and Suzanne Kessler are executive producers. Rosanne Cash is narrator. Kris Slava is writer. Jason Lyons is editor. Tom Zaleski is director of photography. Kate Ripley is associate producer. Michael Kantor is American Masters series executive producer.
Major support for American Masters provided by AARP. Additional support provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation and public television viewers.