Why Me? is a one-hour documentary by Joe Saltzman on breast cancer narrated by actress Lee Grant. First broadcast on May 13, 1974 on CBS in Los Angeles, it was the first major television documentary to deal with breast cancer. A landmark documentary.   Reprint:  September, 1974, CBS in Los Angeles. Reprint:  November, 1975, Public Broadcasting Service, more than 250 stations across the country.  Funding: 3M Company. Reprint:  1976‑77, over the PBS national network. International Distribution: to television stations in Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. 16mm color print, 57 minutes, $625.00  Carrousel Films Inc. 


Awards:   Winner of 10 major awards including the Alfred I. duPont/Columbia University Award in Broadcast Journalism; Radio‑Television News Association special Golden Mike award for best documentary; American Cancer Society Certificate of Merit; San Francisco State University Broadcast Media Award; three National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Regional Emmy Awards; Greater Los Angeles Press Club Best Television Documentary award; Scripps‑Howard Foundation Distinguished Journalism Citation for Outstanding Public Service Reporting.

Los Angeles Times: “In a commendable display of openness, honesty and courage, these women share their stories in Why Me?, an excellently prepared documentary about breast cancer. It is not an easy story to tell nor a pleasant subject to deal with, yet Saltzman lets the women tell the story, skillfully creating a narrative by putting together fragments of conversations with the women participants as well as various doctors.”

The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Broadcast Journalism reads: “Of many worthy programs on subjects of particular interest to women, the most remarkable unquestionably was this gripping hour on breast cancer. Saltzman tread a narrow path between bathos and tragedy, which he survived with signal success thanks to his own and the participants’ impeccable taste and sincerity.”

See the Complete "Why Me?" event on High Definition Video including the documentary itself on USC Annenberg YouTube.

See the Complete "Why Me?" Event on video including the documentary itself on USC Annenberg YouTube.


"Why Me?" transcript of remarks made by Joe Saltzman before the "Why Me?" screening.


Visions & Voices: Why Me?: Special Screening of the Pioneering Documentary on Breast Cancer, October 21, 2010

USC Chronicle 10-18-2010 Story about Screening

Letter from Gina Thompson, who appeared in the original Why Me?

Photos from Why Me? screening, October 21, 2010