Kenneth Lauren Burns is an American filmmaker, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs in documentary films. His widely known documentary series include The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The War, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Prohibition, The Roosevelts, The Vietnam War, and Country Music.
About Ken Burns in brief
Kenneth Lauren Burns is an American filmmaker, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs in documentary films. His widely known documentary series include The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The War, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Prohibition, The Roosevelts, The Vietnam War, and Country Music. Burns’ documentaries have earned two Academy Award nominations and have won several Emmy Awards, among other honors. Burns has built a long, successful career directing and producing well-received television documentary miniseries and TV series. His oeuvre covers diverse subjects including mass media, sports, environmentalism, political and war. In 2007, Burns made an agreement with PBS to produce for the network into the next decade. According to a piece in The New Yorker, Burns and his company, Florentine Films, have selected topics for release by 2030. These topics include country music, the Mayo Clinic, Muhammad Ali, the American criminal system and African-American history from the Civil War to the Great Migration. In 1982, Burns married Amy Steiner, a fellow documentary filmmaker, and the couple have two children, Sarah Burns and Ric Burns.
The couple have a daughter, Sarah, who is also an employee of the company as of 2020. Burns and Steiner have a son, Ric Burns, who was born on July 29, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York, and has two children of his own, both of whom have worked in the film industry. Burns is married to his longtime girlfriend, former U.S. Air Force pilot and former Army helicopter pilot, Jennifer Burns, and they have three children. He has a son and a daughter-in-law, who has worked in film and television, as well as in the military and in the private sector. He is the son of Lyla Smith Burns, a biotechnician, and Robert Kyle Burns, at the time a graduate student in cultural anthropology at Columbia University in Manhattan. His mother was found to have breast cancer when he was three, and she died when she was 11, a circumstance that he said helped shape his career. He graduated from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1971. He attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where students are graded through narrative evaluations rather than letter grades. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in film studies and design in 1975.