Norman Lear Dead At 101

Norman Lear
Source: Screenshot CBS News YouTube

The legendary television producer Norman Lear, who was behind such classic shows as “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “The Jeffersons,” died on Tuesday at the age of 101.

Lear Passes Away

Lear’s publicist told Variety that he died at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes.

“Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather,” Lear’s family said in a statement. “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,” they continued. “We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being.”

Lear’s Career

After earning an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Divorce American Style back in 1968, Lear created the sitcom  “All in the Family,” which was known to be beloved by people of all political persuasions. The show bravely tackled such hot-button issues as racism, abortion, homosexuality, the Vietnam war, and rape. Despite the success of “All In The Family,” however, Lear was hesitant to say that it changed things in the world too much.

“I didn’t see it changing television at all,” he once said. “We had a Judeo-Christian ethic hanging around a couple thousand years that didn’t help erase racism at all. So the notion of the little half-hour comedy changing things is something I think is silly.”

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Lear went on to create such hit shows as “Maude,” “One Day at a Time,” “The Jeffersons,” and Diff’rent Strokes.”

“Originally, with all the shows, we went looking for belly laughs,” Lear said in 2005. “It crossed our minds early on that the more an audience cared – we were working before, on average, 240 live people – if you could get them caring, the more they cared, the harder they laughed.”

Lear founded the nonprofit liberal advocacy group People for the American Way in 1980, saying that he did so because people such as evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were “abusing religion.”

“I started to say, This is not my America. You don’t mix politics and religion this way,” Lear said in 1992, according to The Associated Press.

Svante Myrick, the current president of the nonprofit, said that “we are heartbroken” by Lear’s death.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Norman’s wife Lyn and their entire family, and to the many people who, like us, loved Norman,” he added.

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Lear’s History

Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1922, Lear described his family as being much like a sitcom family, saying that they were “a group of people living at the ends of their nerves and the tops of their lungs.”

Lear dropped out of Emerson College in 1942 to enlist in the Air Force, and he then flew 52 combat missions in Europe during World War II. After the war ended, Lear worked in public relations until he began writing comedy for television in the 1950s.

Lear is survived by his third wife Lyn Davis, six children and four grandchildren. Please join us in saying a prayer for them during this difficult time.

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