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  WINDY CITY TIMES

'The Roosevelts' avoids Eleanor's sexuality
2014-09-09

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Ken Burns' latest PBS opus, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, runs 14 hours and aims to cover previously unexplored areas in the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. However, The Hollywood Reporter noted that the miniseries won't make any definitive statements on the much-speculated-about sexuality of the longest-serving first lady in U.S. history.

At a recent project for TV critics, Burns and longtime collaborator Geoffrey C. Ward were asked about Eleanor's affectionate letters to friend Lorena Hickok—which has led some to question the former first lady's sexuality.

"This is an intimate history, not a tabloid history," said Burns, who also took the time to address similar speculation about the 16th president. "There are intimate letters between Abraham Lincoln and one of his close friends, Joshua Speed. … The intimacy between them would convince you that they had a homosexual relationship."

The duo may not subscribe to the notion that Eleanor was a lesbian, but the film does include interviews with those who feel differently.

The Roosevelts will air on PBS stations Sept. 14-20, 7-9 p.m. CT each night. PBS is also rolling out the entire 14-hour series online starting Sept. 15.


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