Passage: Remembering Toni Morrison and D.A. Pennebaker

It happened this past week – the loss of two creative giants in two very different fields.

We learned of the death earlier this month of D.A. Pennebaker, a filmmaker who changed the face of documentaries, giving them a rougher and more raw, behind-the-scenes look.

His 1967 film "Don't Look Back" followed Bob Dylan on his tour of Britain.

Years later he turned his camera onto politics with "The War Room," which traced Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign for president largely through the eyes of his aides George Stephanopoulos and James Carville.

In 2012 he received an Oscar for lifetime achievement.

D.A. Pennebaker was 94.

To watch a trailer for D.A. Pennebaker's 1968 documentary "Monterey Pop," click on the video player below.

Monterey Pop Trailer (2017) by FilmStar26 on YouTube

Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison died this past Monday in New York of complications from pneumonia.

The author of 11 novels about the black experience in America, Morrison chose her life's course years ago while a single mother with two young sons, as she told our Martha Teichner back in 2004:

"What is it that I have to do that's so important that I will die if I don't? There were two things: the first one was mother my children, and the second was write."

From 2004: Toni Morrison on a writer's life

She first won wide recognition with her novel, "Song of Solomon," in 1977. Eleven years later, her Civil War and Reconstruction-era novel, "Beloved," won her a Pulitzer Prize.

Loyal fans waited patiently in long lines at her book signings, and filled auditoriums to bursting at her readings.

She was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize for literature – the first African-American woman to win that honor – and in her acceptance speech, she praised the power of the written word: "Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names."

Toni Morrison was 88.

      
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Story produced by Derrell Booknight.