American Experience: Citizen Hearst

About

American Experience presents Citizen Hearst, an insightful biography of one of the most fascinating and powerful men of the 20th century. By the 1930s, William Randolph Hearst controlled the largest media empire in the country: 28 newspapers, a movie studio, a syndicated wire service, radio stations and 13 magazines. He used his communications stronghold to achieve political power unprecedented in the industry, then ran for office himself. A man of prodigious appetites and the model for Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, his castle, San Simeon, was a monument to his extravagance.

While married to his wife Millicent, with whom he had five sons, he also conducted a decades-long affair with actress Marion Davies, his companion until death. By the time Hearst died in 1951 at the age of 88, he had forever transformed the role of media in American life and politics. The biography is based on The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst, David Nasaw’s critically-acclaimed biography Citizen Hearst.

Airdates

Monday, September 27, at 9pm on ThinkTV16
Tuesday, September 28, at 9pm on ThinkTV16

Part One

Monday, September 27, at 9pm on ThinkTV16

Trace the rise of William Randolph Hearst, who built the nation’s largest media empire by the 1930s. Born into one of America’s wealthiest families, he used his properties to achieve unprecedented political power, then ran for office himself.

Part Two

Tuesday, September 28, at 9pm on ThinkTV16

Follow William Randolph Hearst’s continued rise to power and expansion into Hollywood. The model for Citizen Kane, he had a decades-long affair with actress Marion Davies, built an enormous castle at San Simeon, and forever transformed modern media.