Maysles, Albert 1926-

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Maysles, Albert 1926-


Surname pronounced "May-zuls"; full name, Albert H. Maysles; born November 26, 1926, in Brookline (near Boston), MA; son of Philip (a postal clerk) and Ethel (a schoolteacher; maiden name, Epstein) Maysles; brother of David Maysles (a documentary filmmaker); married Gillian Walker, September 14, 1976; children: Rebekah, Philip, Sara. Education: Syracuse University, A.B., 1950; Boston University, M.A. 1952. Religion: Jewish.


Office—Maysles Films, Inc., 343 Lennox Ave., New York, NY 10027.


Cinematographer, director, producer, writer, and documentary filmmaker. Drew Associates, member of film crew, c. 1955; Maysles Films, Inc., New York City, president, 1962—. Massachusetts General Hospital, research fellow, 1951-52; Boston University, instructor in psychology, 1953-55. Also worked as camera operator and photographer. Military service: U.S. Army, 1944-46.


Reality Club.

Awards, Honors:

Guggenheim fellowship, 1965; Academy Award nomination (with David Maysles), best short documentary, 1974, and Blue Ribbon Award (with David Maysles), 1975, both for Christo's Valley Curtain; Blue Ribbon Award, 1978, for Running Fence; Emmy Award, outstanding individual achievement in classical music or dance programming, 1987, for Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic; nominations for grand jury prize (with others), documentary category, Sundance Film Festival, 1987, for both Islands and Ozawa; Emmy Award, individual achievement in informational programming, International Documentary Association Award, 1991, and Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding directorial achievement in a documentary or reality film, 1992, all (with others) for Soldiers of Music: Rostropovich Returns to Russia; Cinematography Award, documentary category, and nomination for grand jury prize, both Sundance Film Festival, 1991, for Christo in Paris; Emmy Award (with others), outstanding informational special, 1993, Annual CableACE Awards, best directing in a documentary special and best documentary special, National Cable Television Association, all for Abortion: Desperate Choices; Career Achievement Award, International Documentary Association, 1994; Annual CableACE Award, c. 1996, and George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award, Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Georgia, both for Letting Go: A Hospice Journey; John Grierson Award for Documentary, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, 1997; President's Award, American Society of Cinematographers, 1998; Vision Award, Boston Film and Video Foundation, 1998; Doubletake Career Achievement Award, 1998; Flaherty Award, 1999; Cinematography Award, documentary category, Sundance Film Festival, 2001, and Independent Spirit Award nomination (with others), best documentary, 2002, both for LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton; Thessaloniki Lifetime Achievement Award, 2001; Lifetime Achievement Award, Portland Festival of World Cinema, 2001; Documentarian Award, Director's View Film Festival, 2003; Dragon of Dragons Honorary Award, Cracow Film Festival, 2004; DuPont Award, 2004; Medal of Honor for Theatre, National Arts Club, 2007; Lifetime Achievement Award, Ashland Independent Film Festival, 2008.


Documentary Film Cinematographer, Producer, and Director:

Psychiatry in Russia, 1955.

Showman, Maysles Films, 1963.

What's Happening: The Beatles in the USA, Maysles Films, 1964.

Salesman, Maysles Films, 1968.

Grey Gardens, Rialto Pictures/Zeitgeist Films, 1974.

Christo's Valley Curtain, Maysles Films, 1974.

Running Fence, Maysles Films, 1978.

Islands, Maysles Films, 1986.

Work as producer and director was often a collaboration with brother, David Maysles (until 1987) and others.

Documentary Film Cinematographer and Director:

Youth in Poland, 1957.

Primary, 1960.

Meet Marlon Brando, 1966.

A Visit with Truman Capote (also known as With Love from Truman), 1966.

Gimme Shelter, Roxie Releasing/Artistic License, 1970.

Muhammad and Larry, 1980.

Jessye Norman Sings Carmen, 1988.

Christo in Paris, Maysles Films, 1990.

Umbrellas, Berlin International Film Festival, 1994.

Concert of Wills: Making the Getty Center, Maysles Films, 1998.

The Beales of Grey Gardens, Maysles Films, 2006.

Sally Gross: The Pleasure of Stillness, Master Films, 2007.

Documentary Film Cinematographer:

Sean O'Casey: The Spirit of Ireland, 1965.

"Montparnasse-Levallois," Six in Paris (also known as Paris vu par …), New Yorker, 1968.

Monterey Pop, Fair Enterprises, 1968.

The Grateful Dead, Maysles Films, 1977.

Jimi Plays Monterey, 1986.

Shake! Otis at Monterey, 1989.

When We Were Kings, Gramercy, 1996.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin (also known as Der Deutschen Volke and Verhuellter Reichstag 1971-1995), Ventura Film, 1996.

(Contributor) On Common Ground, 2001.

A Dog's Life: A Dogamentary, Ocule Films, 2004.

In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannite Gramick's Journey of Faith, 2004.

Coffee Beans for a Life—Mein Ueberleben in Kolbuszowa, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, 2005.

Stolen: The Search for the Lost Vermeer, International Film Circuit, 2006.

Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story, 2006.

When the Road Bends: Tales of a Gypsy Caravan (also known as When the Road Bends …), Shadow Distribution, 2007.

(And producer) Scapegoat on Trial, Maysles Films/Cohort Productions, 2007.

Self-Portrait with Cows Going Home and Other Works: A Portrait of Sylvia Plachy, Maysles Films/Persistence of Illusion Films, 2008.

Hollywood Renegade, 2008.

American Prison: The Forgotten Jews, Shining Light Productions, 2008.

Four Seasons Lodge, Rainlake Productions, 2008.

Documentary Film Director:

(With David Maysles), La pupa del gangster, Maysles Films, 1974.

"Ida, Ella & Willa," Time Piece, 2006.

Shine a Light (also known as Shine a Light: The IMAX Experience), Paramount, 2008.

Documentary Film Appearances:

Gimme Shelter, Roxie Releasing/Artistic License, 1970.

Grey Gardens, Rialto Pictures/Zeitgeist Films, 1974.

Cinema Verite: Defining the Moment (also known as Cinema verite—Le moment decisif), National Film Board of Canada, 1999.

New Scenes from America (also known as Nye scener fra Amerika), Det Danske Filminstitut, 2003.

Michael Moore Hates America, Allumination Filmworks, 2004.

Tell Them Who You Are, ThinkFilm, 2005.

Ghosts of Grey Gardens, 2005.

(Uncredited) The Beales of Grey Gardens, Maysles Films, 2006.

Manufacturing Dissent (also known as Manufacturing Dissent: Uncovering Michael Moore), Liberation Entertainment, 2007.

A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory, Arthouse Films, 2007.

How It Is with Phooie, 2007.

My Nose, Kirschenbaum Productions, 2007.

Grey Gardens: From East Hampton to Broadway, East of Doheny, 2007.

Wild Blue Yonder, Corra Films/Parker Metal Pictures, 2007.

Self-Portrait with Cows Going Home and Other Works: A Portrait of Sylvia Plachy, Maysles Films/Persistence of Illusion Films, 2008.

Shine a Light (also known as Shine a Light: The IMAX Experience), Paramount, 2008.

Television Cinematographer and Director; Specials:

Vladimir Horowitz, The Last Romantic, 1985.

Ozawa, PBS, 1987.

Horowitz Plays Mozart, PBS, 1988.

Soldiers of Music: Rostropovich Returns to Russia (also known as Soldiers of Music), PBS, 1991.

(And coproducer) Abortion: Desperate Choices, HBO, 1992.

Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis: Baroque Duet, PBS, 1992.

Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit '92, HBO, 1992.

(And executive producer) Conversations with the Rolling Stones, VH1, 1995.

(And producer) "Letting Go: A Hospice Journey," America Undercover, HBO, 1996.

LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton, 2001.

National Anthem: Inside the Vote for Change Concert Tour, Sundance Channel, 2004.

(And executive producer) The Gates, HBO, 2005.

The Addiction Project, HBO, c. 2006.

Work as director or producer was often a collaboration with others.

Television Cinematographer; Specials:

Let the Good Times Roll, PBS, 1993.

"Accent on the Offbeat," Great Performances, PBS, 1995.

(And executive producer) 100 Years of Women, Lifetime, 1999.

The Jeff Koons Show, 2004.

Sean O'Casey: Under a Coloured Cap, 2005.

Pretty Things, HBO, 2005.

A Case of Mistaken Identity?, 2008.

Also principal photographer for Jammin': Jelly Roll Morton on Broadway, PBS, 1992.

Television Director; Series:

(And executive producer) "James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket," American Masters, PBS, 1989.

(And producer) Sports Illustrated: The Making of the Swimsuit Issue, HBO, 1989.

Work as director or producer was often a collaboration with others.

Television Work; Episodic:

Cinematographer, "Yanki No!," 1960.

Cinematographer, "Stolen," Independent Lens, PBS, 2005.

Directed episodes of America Undercover.

Television Work; Other:

Cinematographer and director, With the Filmmaker: Portraits by Albert Maysles (series), Independent Film Channel, 2001.

"A Mother's Desperation," Addiction (miniseries; also known as Addiction: The Supplementary Series), HBO, 2007.

Television Appearances; Specials:

(In archive footage) Vladimir Hor0witz: A Reminiscence, 1993.

The Wild Ride of Outlaw Bikers, Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

The Beatles Revolution, ABC, 2000.

Mick Jagger: The Ultimate Performer, The Learning Channel, 2001.

Indie Truth: An Inquiry into the Documentary, 2002.

Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The 1970s, 2002.

Pretty Things, HBO, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Na plovarne, 2005.

Also appeared in an episode of Independent View, PBS.


Documentary Film Scripts:

(With David Maysles) Salesman, New American Library, 1969.

(With D. Maysles) Grey Gardens, Rialto Pictures/Zeitgeist Films, 1974.

Concert of Wills: Making the Getty Center, 1998.

Stolen: The Search for the Lost Vermeer, International Film Circuit, 2006.


Video Cinematographer:

(And director) The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit, 1994.

The Paris Review: Early Chapters, 2001.

Stages: Three Days in Mexico—Britney Spears, NVU Productions, 2002.

(And director) This Is an Adventure, Criterion Collections, 2005.


The 1975 film Grey Gardens was adapted as a stage musical by Doug Wright and Scott Frankel, presented at the Walter Kerr Theatre, New York City, 2006-07.



Contemporary Authors, Volumes 29-32, first revision, Gale, 1978.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 16, Gale, 1981.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 2: Directors, St. James Press, 1996.


American Cinematographer, January, 1998, pp. 83-88.

Billboard, November 5, 1994, p. 50.

New Yorker, March 21, 1994, p. 162.

New York Times, February 13, 1994.

Vanity Fair, March, 2008, p. 170.


Maysles Films Website,, May 23, 2008.

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Maysles, Albert 1926-

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