Altman, the 90-minute documentary on the legendary film-maker Robert Altman premieres tonight, August 6, on EPIX (TV Network) in the USA.

The documentary follows the director’s distinguished 50-year career from his start in television directing series such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Bonanza. He eventually lost those commissions because he tried to elevate the episodes, quality-wsie, making them less formulaic. A row with a producer mean he stopped working on the Hitchcock material after two episodes.

There followed in time daring, idiosyncratic films like M*A*S*H, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts, Gosford Park and A Prairie Home Companion.

In the documentary, the legendary director is asked about The Player, in which a studio executive gets away with murder. “Things aren’t really like that, they’re much worse,” Altman quipped.

Scenes from previously unseen home movies feature in the Ron Mann-directed documentary, including a short film the director made about his wife, the former television actress, Kathryn Reed Altman.

Altman was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1925, had Irish ancestry and was raised a Catholic. He attended a number of Jesuit schools.

The director was still directing films when he died in 2006, at 81 years of age.