Author’s ‘Immortal’ Story Comes to Life on HBO

Over the weekend, a film premiered on HBO starring Oprah Winfrey.

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is based on a book of the same title by Chicago author Rebecca Skloot. It tells the remarkable story of a poor Virginia tobacco farmer whose contribution to science and medicine may be unparalleled. 

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Lacks was born in 1920 and her role in medical research began in 1951 when doctors took some of her cells – without asking for permission to do so – as she was dying.  Those cells kept living, and started a scientific revolution and a multibillion-dollar industry.

Years later when her family learned about it, they felt angry and exploited. 

The book spent more than a year on the New York Times best-seller list. Soon after it came out, Skloot joined us on Chicago Tonight. Given the renewed interest in the story, we thought you’d enjoy this conversation from 2011.

Below, a trailer from the film.

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