The sixth of seven premiere season episodes of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? featured Susan Sarandon, with a focus on her search to uncover information about her maternal grandmother, Anita, who mysteriously disappeared when Susan’s mother was very young. This episode, perhaps in my opinion the most compelling of the series thus far, finished first in its Friday night rating timeslot with 6.8 million viewers, well ahead of its competition.
There are likely few families that don’t have a mystery (or two?) that keep family historians scratching their heads trying to uncover the clues necessary to uncover the ‘true’ story. Interestingly, it was work completed by Susan, with assistance provided by her son Miles Robbins, as opposed to a professional genealogist, that lead to finding her grandmother had lived most of her life only about an hour away.
A rich Tuscan heritage was but a back drop to the more compelling tale of Anita – married at age 13, showgirl, Sinatra connection, and finally, ‘happily’ (?) ever after when Anita remarries and lives what appears to be a blissful 35 years of marriage in the suburbs. There remain unanswered questions – but aren’t there always unanswered questions? Isn’t there always a bit more to uncover?
It was a pleasure seeing the subject celebrity doing more of her own research (and okay, I’m getting over the no gloves being used when examining old documents) but it was also the variety of sources that was refreshing, especially when moving forward to current time when city directories provided an exact location and eventual connection to those who knew her grandmother.
Next week is the final seventh episode of Season 1 featuring Spike Lee! If the series stays true to form, it is likely to be the best of the seven!