Iconic ‘All in the Family’ TV Producer Norman Lear Dies at 101, Hollywood Mourns

Norman Lear

Norman Lear — the iconic TV producer who created the groundbreaking 1970s sitcoms All in the Family, Maude, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, and The Jeffersons — passed away at his home at the age of 101. Lear continued to produce TV later in life, including the 2017 remake of One Day at a Time and the 2022 Netflix revival of Good Times.

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

As reported by Variety, “Norman Lear’s shows were the first to address the serious political, cultural and social flashpoints of the day – racism, abortion, homosexuality, the Vietnam War — by working pointed new wrinkles into the standard domestic comedy formula.” 

Norman Lear Once Said About Audiences, “The More They Cared, the Harder They Laughed”

Norman Lear created All in the Family
Image Credit: CBS.

Even for those not alive during the 1970s, Norman Lear's sitcoms such as All in the Family (pictured) gave people permission to talk — and even laugh — about hot-button issues. Lear received the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors and supported liberal and progressive causes throughout his life. One could say that decades before “wokeness,” Lear already wrote the book on the original meaning of it through his culturally significant series.

In a 2005 interview with The Onion, Lear said:

“Originally, with all the shows, we went looking for belly laughs. 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.”

Looking back at All in the Family years later, Lear reportedly downplayed the show's significance. “I didn’t see it changing television at all,” said Lear. “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.”

The 2016 documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You covers Norman Lear's extraordinary career. He also published a 2014 memoir titled Even This I Get to Experience. Lear is survived by his third wife, Lyn Davis, six children, and four grandchildren.

 

Author: Robert DeSalvo

Title: Entertainment News Writer

Bio:

Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.