Norman Lear

TV Producer / Writer
Date Of Birth:
27 July 1922
Date Of Death:
5 December 2023
Place Of Birth:
New Haven, Connecticut
Best Known As:
The TV producer behind 'All in the Family' and 'Sanford and Son'
Norman Lear was at the top of his TV career in the 1970s, co-producing the most popular sitcoms of the era, including All in the Family, Sanford and Son and Good Times. Lear grew up in Connecticut and spent a year at Emerson College in Boston before joining the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942. He flew 52 combat missions as a gunner and radio operator during World War II, and after being discharged in 1945 Lear began a career as a publicist. By 1950, however, he was in Los Angeles starting his career as a television comedy writer. Within a few years, Lear was also producing his own shows. With partner Bud Yorkin, Lear introduced tough language and serious issues into TV comedy with the 1971 debut of All in the Family, a show about a working class family and its generational, political and cultural skirmishes. By its second season, All in the Family (1971-83) was a top-rated show, as was the Lear-produced comedy, Sanford and Son (1972-77). Then came Maude (1972-78, starring Bea Arthur), and The Jeffersons (1975-85), both spin-off series from All in the Family, and Good Times (1974-79), a spin-off from Maude. Lear was also behind the 1976 syndicated soap opera, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, which spawned a small but loyal following (and two other shows, Fernwood 2 Night and America 2-Night). Lear and Yorkin split up their partnership in 1985. Lear continued to produce for TV and movies, including the series Silver Spoons (1982-87), The Facts of Life (1979-88) and 227 (1985-90). Listed as executive producer, Lear participated in the 2017 reboot of his series One Day at a Time, which originally aired from 1975 to 1984. Norman Lear made a lot of money in television, and he spent a lot of money on liberal political causes, challenging right wing politics in the United States. A towering figure in the history of American television, Lear won many awards and honors, including several Emmys and an Oscar nomination (for the screenplay to 1967’s Divorce American Style), and lived to be 101.
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