In advance of the October 23 premiere of the new film Amelia, starring two-time Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank, WLIW21 will air a special presentation of American Experience: Amelia Earhart on Wednesday, October 21 at 10 p.m. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and the first to cross the North American continent alone. Her exploits as an aviator, her beauty and intelligence, her independence and charm made her a national heroine. But her cheering public didn’t know the cost of her courage. The record-breaking flights, the aerial exhibitions and races, the interviews to support her favorite causes, the endless speeches and promotional commitments, coupled with household responsibilities, health problems and financial worries, pushed Earhart to the point of exhaustion. In 1937, she set out to accomplish yet another first: to circle the earth along the equator on an east-west flight. Friends warned that her preparations were hurried, even careless. When her plane disappeared without a trace on the eve of her 40th birthday, the “First Lady of the Air” was instantly transformed into an American legend.
Watch other great American stories at pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience.