The Autobiography of
Miss Jane Pittman
DVD cover
Based onThe Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
by Ernest J. Gaines
Screenplay byTracy Keenan Wynn
Directed byJohn Korty
StarringCicely Tyson
Barbara Cheney
Richard Dysart
Katherine Helmond
Michael Murphy
Thalmus Rasulala
Theme music composerFred Karlin
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducersRobert W. Christiansen
Rick Rosenberg
Production locationsNatchez, Mississippi
Woodville, Mississippi
Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation - State Highway 75, Geismer, Louisiana
Ryan Airport - 9430 Jackie Cochran Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Cottage Plantation - 10528 Cottage Lane, St. Francisville, Louisiana
CinematographyJames Crabe
EditorSidney Levin
Running time110 minutes
Production companyTomorrow Entertainment
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution (on behalf of DreamWorks Classics)
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original release
  • January 31, 1974 (1974-01-31)
Cicely Tysonas Jane Pittman (1974)
Cicely Tyson
as Jane Pittman (1974)

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is an American television film based on the novel of the same name by Ernest J. Gaines. The film was broadcast on CBS on Thursday, January 31, 1974.[1][2][3]

Directed by John Korty, the screenplay was written by Tracy Keenan Wynn and executive produced by Roger Gimbel.[4][5] It stars Cicely Tyson in the lead role, as well as Michael Murphy, Richard Dysart, Katherine Helmond, and Odetta. The film was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,[6] and was notable for its use of very realistic special effects makeup by Stan Winston and Rick Baker for the lead character, who is shown from ages 23 to 110.[7] The film is distributed through Classic Media.


The time is the early 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Jane, a former slave, is celebrating her 110th birthday. Two men tell her that a little girl is going to a segregated water fountain; she gets arrested because she is black. The next day Jane is interviewed by a journalist and she tells the story of her life. The climax of the story shows Jane going to the water fountain to desegregate it; her lifespan has bridged the time of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.



See also


  1. ^ a b "TV key previews". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 31, 1974. p. 23.
  2. ^ a b "TV Today: Cicely, Alan, ancient man". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). January 31, 1974. p. B6.
  3. ^ a b "Television previews". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). January 31, 1974. p. 5B.
  4. ^ "Passings: Roger Gimbel, 86, producer of made-for-TV movies; John Cossette, 54, longtime Grammy Awards' executive producer; W. Barclay Kamb, 79, Caltech professor specialized in glacial sciences". Los Angeles Times. April 29, 2011. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  5. ^ "Roger Gimbel, Emmy-winning TV producer, dies at 86; worked with Bing Crosby, Sophia Loren". Newser. Associated Press. April 28, 2011. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  6. ^ The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The New York Times.
  7. ^ Timpone, Anthony (1996). Men, makeup, and monsters: Hollywood's masters of illusion and FX. Macmillan. p. 40. ISBN 0-312-14678-7.
  8. ^ "1974 Emmy Awards: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman".