Norman Lear, the writer-producer-developer who pushed the envelope with daring TV sitcoms like All In The Family, The Jeffersons and more, has passed away at the age of 101.
Lear’s publicist confirmed to Variety that he died of natural causes on Tuesday night at his home in Los Angeles. A private memorial is expected to be held in the coming days.
Lear’s family has issued the following statement:
“Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Norman lived a life of creativity, tenacity, and empathy. He deeply loved our country and spent a lifetime helping to preserve its founding ideals of justice and equality for all. Knowing and loving him has been the greatest of gifts. We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being.”
Born in New Haven, Connecticut on July 27, 1922, Lear’s career in entertainment began after his stint with the U.S. Air Force in the 1940s. He started as a press agent, but he then moved into comedy writing, partnering with Ed Simmons. He would write for the likes of Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and more.
In the 1960s, Lear teamed up with his Tandem Productions partner Bud Yorkin to produce specials with Bobby Darin, Henry Fonda and others. However, their big break came with the development of All In The Family, following the outspokenly bigoted Archie Bunker and his family.
All In The Family was an immediate hit while also tackling subjects that were still considered taboo, including racism, abortion, homosexuality, and rape.
Lear was also responsible (at least, partially) for bringing some of the most iconic Black sitcoms in television history. Those sitcoms include Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Diff’rent Strokes.
Lear was also behind big-screen favorites such as Stand By Me and The Princess Bride.
Aside from his work in TV and film, Lear was an outspoken liberal and progressive philanthropist. With groups like “People for The American Way” and “Declare Yourself,” Lear championed the youth vote and monitored the actions of right-wing groups.
Lear is survived by his wife, Lyn Davis, six children, and four grandchildren.
Check out some of our favorite Norman Lear productions below.
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