Ken Burns

Documentary Filmmaker
Born Jul 29, 1953

Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burns is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs. Among his productions are The Civil War (1990), Baseball (1994), Jazz (2001), The War (2007), The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009) and Prohibition (2011). Burns' documentaries have been nominated for two Academy Awards, and have won Emmy Awards, among other honors.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Ken Burns.


1953 Birth Burns was born on July 29, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Lyla Smith (née Tupper) Burns, a biotechnician, and Robert Kyle Burns, at the time a graduate student in cultural anthropology at Columbia University in Manhattan. … Read More


1971 17 Years Old He graduated from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor in 1971. … Read More


1975 21 Years Old Studying under photographers Jerome Liebling and Elaine Mayes and others, Burns earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in film studies and design in 1975. … Read More
1977 23 Years Old Burns worked as a cinematographer for the BBC, Italian television, and others, and in 1977, having completed some documentary short films, he began work on adapting David McCullough's book The Great Bridge, about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. … Read More
1982 28 Years Old In 1982, Burns married Amy Stechler, with whom he had two daughters, Sarah and Lily; the marriage ended in divorce.


2007 53 Years Old In endorsing Barack Obama for the U.S. presidency in December 2007, Burns compared Obama to Abraham Lincoln. … Read More
2008 54 Years Old …  In 2008, the Democratic National Committee chose Burns to produce the introductory video for Senator Edward Kennedy's August 2008 speech to the Democratic National Convention, a video described by Politico as a "Burns-crafted tribute casting him Kennedy as the modern Ulysses bringing his party home to port."
2009 55 Years Old In August 2009, Kennedy died, and Burns produced a short eulogy video at his funeral.
2010 56 Years Old As of 2010, there is a Ken Burns Wing at the Jerome Liebling Center for Film, Photography and Video at Hampshire College. … Read More
2011 57 Years Old As of 2011, Burns resides in Walpole, New Hampshire, with his second wife, Julie Deborah Brown, whom he married on October 18, 2003.
2012 58 Years Old In 2012, Burns received the Washington University International Humanities Medal. … Read More
2013 59 Years Old In 2013, Burns received the John Steinbeck Award, an award presented annually by Steinbeck's eldest son, Thomas, in collaboration with the John Steinbeck Family Foundation, San Jose State University, and The National Steinbeck Center.


Burns was the Grand Marshal for the 2016 Pasadena Tournament of Roses' Rose Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California.
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