Tyrus Wong on American Masters

We’re excited to share a preview of the first documentary about Chinese American artist Tyrus Wong, on American Masters: Tyrus, premiering nationwide Friday, September 8 at 9 p.m. on PBS which coincides with Bambi’s 75th anniversary.

Filmmaker Pamela Tom (A Tribute to Sir Sidney Poitier, Two Lies) tells the story of the under-credited, artist, Tyrus Wong (1910-2016) who was one of America’s oldest living Chinese American artists from the golden age of Disney animation.

“Tyrus Wong’s story is a prime example of one of the many gaping holes in our society’s narrative on art, cinema, and Western history,” said Pamela Tom. “By telling his story, I wanted to shine light on one of America’s unsung heroes, and raise awareness of the vital contributions he’s made to American culture.”

American Masters: Tyrus will share how he overcame a life of poverty and racism to become a celebrated painter who once exhibited with Picasso and Matisse, a Hollywood sketch artist, and ‘Disney Legend.’ Previously unseen art and interviews with Wong, movie clips and archival footage illustrate how his unique style – melding Chinese calligraphic and landscape influences with contemporary Western art – is found in everything from Disney animation (Bambi) and live-action Hollywood studio films (Rebel Without a Cause, The Wild Bunch, Sands of Iwo Jima, April in Paris) to Hallmark Christmas cards, kites and hand-painted California dinnerware to fine art and Depression-era WPA paintings.

Bambi Artist Tyrus Wong

“When I met Tyrus, I knew very little about his astounding work, which I then saw displayed prominently at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco,” said Michael Kantor, American Masters series executive producer. “This beautifully realized film is a reminder that there are many American Masters who are not immediately recognizable, but when you learn about their stories, you’ll never forget them.”

Find out more about this amazing artist here on the PBS website.

For full episodes, visit

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Photo credit: American Masters