American Experience (1988– )
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Dolley Madison 

Dolley Madison lived through the two wars that established the U.S., was friends with the first 12 Presidents, and watched America evolve from a struggling young republic to the first modern democracy in the world.

Director:

Muffie Meyer

Writer:

Ronald Blumer
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Catherine Allgor Catherine Allgor ... Herself - Historian
Carl Sferrazza Anthony Carl Sferrazza Anthony ... Himself - Writer (as Carl Anthony)
Jim Barbour Jim Barbour ... Congressman
Carol Berkin Carol Berkin ... Herself - Historian
Eve Best ... Dolley Madison
Maria Cecile Callier Maria Cecile Callier ... Widow
Sonya Chisholm Sonya Chisholm ... Sukey
John Ellison Conlee ... Congressman George P
Michael Cumpsty ... John Randolph
John Curless John Curless ... Anthony Merry - British Envoy
Kendall Diggs Kendall Diggs ... Lucy Payne
Mireille Enos ... Grand Niece - Lucia Cutts
Liam Ferguson ... South Carolina Congressman
Tom Fleming Tom Fleming ... Himself - Writer
Terry Menefee Gau ... Madam Pinchot
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Storyline

Dolley Madison lived through the two wars that established the U.S., was friends with the first 12 Presidents, and watched America evolve from a struggling young republic to the first modern democracy in the world.

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Certificate:

TV-G
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Details

Release Date:

1 March 2010 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

WGBH See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ethan Marten plays Dolley Madison's first husband, John Todd, Jr.. His Mother is Historic Romance Writer Jacqueline Marten. The little-known historic figure makes several appearances within her eighteen novels. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ab-sah-luta-lee Dread-full, Hunnah!
1 April 2017 | by Dan1863SicklesSee all my reviews

As much as I loved Eve Best as smart, sexy, sophisticated Dr. O'Hara in NURSE JACKIE, she makes an appalling Dolly Madison in this stuffy and sleepy episode of THE American EXPERIENCE.

The first thing we learn about Dolly is that she grew up in Philadelphia and that her relatives were all Quakers. But for some reason English actress Eve Best has the phoniest, creepiest southern accent I've ever heard. Not like Scarlett O'Hara -- more like Carol Burnett imitating Vivien Leigh doing Scarlett in a comedy sketch.

It would have been just as logical to have Dolly Madison talk like Rocky Balboa -- at least he was from Philly! "Yo James, you want things, I want things, maybe, ah-wun know, maybe we want the same things. Ah-wun know, wudya tink?"

But it's not just a matter of accents. This documentary goes to all kinds of lengths to creep away from the uglier side of Dolly Madison's career -- betraying the Quaker principles of her father and marrying a wealthy old slave owner for money -- and off into endless, giggling tangents about Dolly showing off her bosom for drooling crowds of diplomats and dignitaries. Who knew that was all it took to become a legend?

The one revealing moment was when they showed an actual letter Dolly Madison wrote just after she married slave owner James Madison, and she signed her name "Dolly Madison -- alas!" There's a great story there, but it's not a story that fits in comfortably with the smug hypocrisies of modern feminism and modern liberalism. Some truths are just not meant to be a part of the American Experience.


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