Norman Lear Dies At 101 After Inspiring A Generation Of Filmmakers

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Storied television and film writer and producer Norman Lear has died at 101 years old. The Connecticut-born Lear went on to attend Emerson College briefly before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Force. For his time in the Air Force, he received the Air Medal with four oak-leaf clusters. It was after returning to the U.S. that Lear quickly gained an audience for his number of smash hit television shows, including “All In The Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “The Facts Of Life,” and more.

Lear is widely credited for bringing complexity to the sitcom genre. Notably, “All In The Family” was among few television shows in 1970s that addressed bigotry, while “The Jeffersons” offered a glimpse into the complexity of the Black experience in America.”Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons'” won an Emmy Award, making Lear, at 97, the oldest Emmy winner in the history of the ceremony. This marked his fifth Emmy.

Outside of his programs, which often encouraged diverse representation and forging understanding between communities, Lear was an outspoken activist. The television tycoon was one of the first inductees in the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984, and he won Peabody Awards in 1977 (for “All in the Family”) and 2016 (for his life’s work). In 1999, President Bill Clinton awarded him a National Medal of Arts. Lear was named a recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in 2017, but neglected to attend the reception at the White House due to his criticism of President Donald Trump.

“This is a presidency that has chosen to neglect totally the arts and humanities — deliberately defund them — and that doesn’t rest pleasantly with me,” he once previously told the New York Times. Lear’s personal liberal leaning politics reflected in his work, which he sought to reflect the rapidly evolving sociopolitical climate of the 1970s and 1980s.

Outside of his work as a writer, he later founded Act III Communications. The production company’s most notable films include actor-writer-director Rob Reiner films, “Stand by Me” (1986) and “The Princess Bride” (1987).

Celebrity Tributes

Rob Reiner, who remained close friends with Lear over the years since their collaboration on several of his films, shared words of condolences for Lear’s family.


Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also shared a message via X regarding Lear’s history of activism.

Jimmy Kimmel additionally shared a tribute to Lear, who shaped the way that television programs covered current events.

Emmy winning actress and writer Quinta Brunson referred to Lear as “the GOAT.”


Actress Wanda Sykes reflected on her time working with Lear.

Actor George Takei reposted an interview segment from Hollywood, Health And Society from the Lear Center, in which the late Lear reflected upon his legendary life and career.

Lear is survived by his wife Lyn Davis, their son, Benjamin; their daughters, Brianna and Madeline Lear; a daughter from his first marriage, Ellen Lear; two daughters from his second marriage, Kate and Maggie Lear; and four grandchildren.

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