Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?
Exclusive public television version of acclaimed documentary premieres nationwide beginning Tuesday, February 26 on public television (check local listings)
The Grammy® Award-winners “Everybody’s Talkin’” and “Without You”…the quirky “Coconut” (“Put de lime in de coconut…”)…the whimsical “Me and My Arrow,” and the poignant “One” (“…is the loneliest number”)…all are the work of one man, Harry Nilsson. For the first time, television viewers can discover the story of one of the most talented and uncompromising singer-songwriters in pop music history in the U.S. broadcast premiere of Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, premiering nationwide beginning Tuesday, February 26 on public television (check local listings). In the New York metro area, the documentary premieres Saturday, March 2 at 10:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN and Saturday, March 23 at 10 p.m. on WLIW21.
This definitive portrait of a remarkable artist reveals a complex and contradictory personal life: the legendary bad boy party animal who was at the same time a devoted husband and father. Documentary filmmaker John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon) brings added emotion and intimacy to the story with more than 50 Nilsson recordings, interview clips, rare or never-before-seen film clips, home movies, and personal photos. The documentary also reveals Nilsson’s spirited relationship with John Lennon and close bond with Ringo Starr, which made him in some ways the “fifth Beatle,” and includes compelling interviews with top music and movie personalities who knew Harry well, including former Monkee Micky Dolenz, Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle, Al Kooper (Blood, Sweat & Tears), Yoko Ono, Beach Boys collaborator Van Dyke Parks, The Smothers Brothers, Nilsson’s songwriting contemporaries Randy Newman, Jimmy Webb and Paul Williams, actor Robin Williams (Nilsson composed the score for Robin’s first film, Popeye), and Brian Wilson, as well as his record producer, wife and children. As his friend Micky Dolenz describes in the documentary, Nilsson “accomplished more than most other people, writers, singers…will ever accomplish in their lifetime…in 10 lifetimes,” and friend and fellow songwriter Jimmy Webb says, “There’s nothing like [his songs].”
Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? was released theatrically Fall 2010, and premiered internationally the year after. Scheinfeld and his team created an alternate ending for this exclusive public television version distributed nationwide by WLIW21 in association with WNET. For 50 years, WNET has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.
The public television version of Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? is produced by Crew Neck Productions and Authorized Pictures. A presentation of WLIW21 in association with WNET. John Servidio is executive in charge of production for WLIW21 in association with WNET.
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region.