PBS’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE History Series Premieres Biography of Humanitarian and Baseball Great...

PBS’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE History Series Premieres Biography of Humanitarian and Baseball Great Roberto Clemente on Monday, April 21, 2008

- Spanish language version of one-hour documentary from Latino filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz will stream online -


BOSTON, March 27 /HISPANIC PR WIRE-PRNewswire/ — On Monday, April 21, PBS’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE series (http://www.pbs.org/americanexperience) premieres “Roberto Clemente,” a one-hour documentary about an exceptional baseball player and committed humanitarian who challenged racial discrimination to become baseball’s first Latino superstar. The film will be presented on public television (http://pbs.org) on April 21, after which a Spanish-language version will be available for free viewing online at http://pbs.org/americanexperience.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080327/NETH060 )

From independent filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz (available for interviews in English and Spanish), “Roberto Clemente” features interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David Maraniss (Clemente) and George F. Will (Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball), Clemente’s wife Vera, Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, and former teammates, to present an intimate portrait of a man whose passion and grace made him a legend. Golden Globe Award-winning actor Jimmy Smits (The West Wing, NYPD Blue) narrates.

On December 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente, a thirty-seven-year-old baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, boarded a DC-7 aircraft loaded with relief supplies for survivors of a catastrophic earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua. Shortly after take off, the overloaded aircraft plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, just one mile from the Puerto Rican coast. Roberto Clemente’s body was never recovered.

Clemente’s untimely death brought an end to a spectacular career. In his eighteen seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he led the team to two World Series championships, won four National League batting titles, received the Most Valuable Player award, and earned twelve consecutive Gold Gloves. In his final turn at bat for the 1972 season, Clemente made his 3,000th career hit-an achievement that had been reached by ten major league players before him, and only fifteen since.

Roberto Clemente used the podium his fame offered to talk about human rights and his dream to help underprivileged youth in Puerto Rico. During road trips with the Pirates, he routinely stopped to visit sick children in area hospitals. “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth,” he told a Houston audience in 1971, just one year before his death.


A Quiet Pictures production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Written, produced, and directed by Bernardo Ruiz. Edited by James Rutenbeck. Directors of photography Michael Chin and Claudio Rocha. Original score Gary Lionelli. Narrator Jimmy Smits.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston

Series producer Sharon Grimberg

Executive producer Mark Samels

Major funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Major corporate funding is provided by Liberty Mutual. Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by public television viewers.


Television’s most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has been hailed as “peerless” (Wall Street Journal), “the most consistently enriching program on television” (Chicago Tribune), and “a beacon of intelligence and purpose” (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present.

Promotional photography is available for download from pressroom.wgbh.org.


To request a screener or schedule an interview, please contact:

Jen Holmes, WGBH, 617.300.5388, jen_holmes@wgbh.org

Patrick Ramirez, WGBH, 617.300.4251, patrick_ramirez@wgbh.org

PBS’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE History Series Premieres Biography of Humanitarian and Baseball Great Roberto Clemente on Monday, April 21, 2008