Rebecca Eaton

Rebecca Eaton Biography

Rebecca Eaton (born November 7, 1947) is an American television producer best known for introducing American audiences to British costume and countryside dramas as executive producer of the PBS Masterpiece series.


Eaton was born in Boston and raised in Pasadena, California, her father a Caltech English literature professor, and her mother, Katherine Emery, an actress both on Broadway (in Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour) and in film. Eaton recalls visiting New York every summer to see Broadway shows, as well as spending her junior high school days lost in Jane Eyre.

Eaton attended Vassar, graduating in 1969 with a BA in English literature. Her senior thesis was on James Joyce's The Dubliners. In 1969-1970, she was a production assistant for the BBC World Service in London. Returning to the U.S., she was in 1972 hired by WGBH in Boston, there producing Pantechnicon (a radio arts magazine) and the television programs Zoom and Enterprise.

Eaton became the third executive producer of Masterpiece Theatre. Christopher Sarson was at the helm from its inception in 1971. Sarson had bought Upstairs, Downstairs from ITV. Eaton succeeded the series' second executive producer, Joan Wilson, in 1985.

Under Eaton, Masterpiece extended its reach into feature film co-production, for such films as Jane Austen's Persuasion and Mrs. Brown, starring Dame Judi Dench.

By 2011, she had been executive producer of the show for more than 25 of its 40 years on the air.

Personal life

Eaton married in 1984 sculptor Paul Robert Cooper. The couple's daughter was born shortly before Eaton was named executive producer of Masterpiece. She credits her husband's willingness to stay at home with having advanced her career.

Television series

Since becoming executive producer of Masterpiece in 1985, Eaton is credited with producing for American audiences series that include:

  • Prime Suspect
  • Bleak House
  • The Lost Prince
  • Inspector Morse
  • Miss Marple
  • House of Cards
  • Tony Hillerman's Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time
  • The Complete Jane Austen
  • Cranford
  • Wallander (UK TV series)
  • Little Dorrit
  • Sherlock
  • Downton Abbey
  • Upstairs, Downstairs (remake)


Eaton's honors include 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 15 Peabody Awards, a Golden Globe, and two Academy Award nominations (for the Masterpiece co-production, Mrs. Brown. Queen Elizabeth II has honored her with an honorary OBE (Officer, Order of the British Empire). In 2011 she was one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World".


This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rebecca_Eaton" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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