television producer, political activist
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut
Norman Lear was the most influential television producer of the 1970s, scoring a string of hits including Sanford and Son (1972?77), Good Times (1974?79; the first television series created by African American writers), The Jeffersons (1975?85; one of the first television shows to feature an interracial married couple), One Day at a Time (1975?84), Maude (1972?78), and his most famous and acclaimed show, All in the Family (1971?83). All in the Family (from which The Jeffersons, Maude, and Good Times were spun off), was the groundbreaking situation comedy of its day, featuring the bigoted blue-collar Archie Bunker who was often pitted against his liberal daughter and son-in-law, as well as his well-meaning wife, with regard to such issues as the Vietnam War, race, and sexuality. In 1981, Lear left television to found People for the American Way, a lobbying organization that fought against the political right wing, but he returned to the entertainment business in the 1990s. Also a screenwriter, Lear earned an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay for Divorce American Style (1967).