PBS Premiere: Aug. 1, 2016Check the broadcast schedule »

Filmmaker Bio

Albert Maysles Albert Maysles, Director/Cinematographer

Born in Boston in 1926, Albert Maysles was a pioneer of "direct cinema" and, along with his late brother, David, was the first to make nonfiction feature films where the drama of life unfolds as is without scripts, sets, interviews or narration. Albert made his first film, Psychiatry in Russia (1955), as he transitioned from psychologist to filmmaker. Among his more than 40 films are some of the most iconic works in documentary history, including Salesman (1968), Gimme Shelter (1970) and Grey Gardens (1975).

More recently, he directed the award-winning Muhammad and Larry for ESPN's 30 for 30 and Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, both in 2009, and reunited with Paul McCartney in 2011 for The Love We Make. (In 1964, Albert and his brother chronicled the Fab Four's historic arrival in America in What's Happening! The Beatles in the USA.) His last film, In Transit, premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

Among the honors Albert received in his lifetime were a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Peabody Awards, two Emmy Awards, six lifetime achievement awards, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the award for best cinematography at Sundance for Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton (2001), which was also nominated for an Academy Award®. In 1999, Eastman Kodak saluted him as one of the world's 100 finest cinematographers and in 2014, President Barack Obama presented him with a 2013 National Medal of Arts "for rethinking and remaking documentary film in America."

Albert Maysles passed away in New York City on March 5, 2015.