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Lena Dunham Uncovers Her Grandparents' Love Story in Finding Your Roots Exclusive Clip

Along with Michael Douglas, Dunham digs into her family history with some help from Henry Louis Gates Jr.
  • Lena Dunham in Finding Your Roots (Photo: PBS)
    Lena Dunham in Finding Your Roots (Photo: PBS)

    In its landmark 10th season, Finding Your Roots has shown no signs of slowing down, hosting all manner of Hollywood luminaries along with viewers like you. Next up are Michael Douglas and Lena Dunham, who will unpack some family history with Henry Louis Gates Jr. on April 2.

    The past was on the Girls creator mind as she worked on her latest film Treasure, Julia Heinz’s adaptation of the Lily Brett novel Too Many Men. In it, Dunham plays a journalist named Ruth who ventures to Poland with her father (played by Stephen Fry), who is a Holocaust survivor, to dig into their family’s traumatic past. Dunham’s appearance in next week’s Finding Your Roots is not as harrowing, but, as you can see in this exclusive clip, it has the potential to be just as illuminating.

    Dunham tells Gates Jr. that she grew up pestering her grandmother, Dorothy Carole Trussel, with questions about her marriage to Samuel Simons (Dunham’s grandfather). But, like so many of the forebears we’ve learned about on FYR, Dorothy was focused on the present, though, in this case, she didn’t seem to be protecting Dunham from a past trauma — perhaps Simons (née Trussel) wanted her granddaughter to focus on other things besides marriage.

    When the FYR host shows her Dorothy and Samuel’s wedding announcement — which also notes Dorothy’s education at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania — Dunham asks if such reveals often cause guests to cry as she herself starts to tear up. She marvels at how young Dorothy was when she got married (23 years old); for comparison, Hannah Horvath was 24 years old when Girls premiered in 2012. It puts things in perspective for Dunham, who was roughly the same age when she first started working on her influential HBO comedy, which has been undergoing a reappraisal.

    Dunham and Gates Jr. will be joined next week by Michael Douglas, who’s about to embark on a separate journey to the past as Benjamin Franklin in Apple TV+’s Franklin. You can tune in Tuesday night at 8:00 PM ET, either by streaming on PBS.org or by checking your local listings.

    Danette Chavez is the Editor-in-Chief of Primetimer and its biggest fan of puns.

    TOPICS: Finding Your Roots, PBS, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Lena Dunham, Michael Douglas