The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
2001 | The Ciesla Foundation and Cinemax
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg chronicles the extraordinary career of the baseball great who transcended religious prejudice to become an authentic American icon. “Hammering Hank” Greenberg, America’s first Jewish baseball star, shattered barriers of discrimination in American sports and society at a time when anti-Semitism ran high in the United States and Hitler was persecuting Jews in Europe. From 1930 to 1947, with a four-year break for World War II, Greenberg forged an impressive baseball career as a Detroit Tiger. The Hall of Famer hit a career .313, was chosen Most Valuable Player in 1935 and 1940, and in 1938 pounded a home run streak that came within two homers of tying Babe Ruth’s 1927 record. Over a 12-year period, documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner wrote, produced and directed this loving tribute that juxtaposes world events and Greenberg’s life, creating a story of perseverance and triumph. To create her profile, memorable for its cultural insights and humor, Kempner combined rare archival footage and dozens of interviews with Greenberg’s family, friends, and surviving teammates as well as footage of an extended 1984 interview of Greenberg by Dick Schaap. Directing the photography were Jerry Feldman, Kevin Hewitt, Tom Hurwitz, Tom Kaufman, Christopher Li, and Scott Mumford. Executive Producers Ross Greenburg and Sheila Nevins and Producer Julie Anderson brought the program to the screen for Cinemax. For hitting a grand slam that captures a life, a game, a time, and a place, a Peabody goes to Aviva Kempner, the Ciesla Foundation and Cinemax for The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.
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