Norman Lear is one of the most important figures in the history of television. He is one of the most important men behind the scenes of some of our most revered and beloved TV shows. Let me begin by telling you who Norman Lear is…..then I will tell you briefly about his history and the man who bravely served his country in World War II.
This is Norman Lear…..and at 100 years old… he is still working!
Norman Milton Lear was born on July 27, 1922. He is a beloved American TV Writer, and a Film and TV Producer.
In his 100 years he has produced, written, created, or developed over 100 shows.
Lear is best known for many popular 1970s sitcoms, including All in the Family, Maude, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, and Good Times. Collectively these shows were viewed by more than 120 million people per week. His shows were influential, ground-breaking shows.
“All in the Family” was one of the most important series of all-time.
In this ground-breaking show, Norman Lear was not afraid to take on social and controversial subjects. He trusted the intelligence of his viewers to understand why he brought some of the controversial episodes to television. Over 50 years ago, it was the first American show to be taped in front of a live audience. Every laugh and response were from real people.
To me this seems risky since the show often had topics that could easily be hard for some to grasp. The lead character Archie Bunker was a middle-aged Bigot. The man who portrayed “Archie” (Carroll O’Conner) was a liberal. I suppose this is why Carroll O’Conner won four Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of “Archie Bunker”. Jean Stapleton who portrayed his wife “Edith Bunker” won three Emmy Awards. Sally Struthers (daughter Gloria Stivic) won two Emmy Awards. Rob Reiner (Gloria’s husband / the son-in-law, Mike Stivic) also won two Emmy Awards.
ALL in the FAMILY had 42 Emmy Award WINS and 73 nominations. There were also 8 Golden Globe WINS connected to the show.
Just think about this…….
From 1971-1979, “All in the Family” addressed racism, antisemitism, homosexuality, women’s liberation, religion, rape, abortion, breast cancer, infidelity, miscarriages, impotence, menopause, and the Vietnam War…and 50 years later most of these subjects are still HOT TOPICS!
NORMAN LEAR HAS ALWAYS BEEN AHEAD OF HIS TIME!
Other random things about All in the Family:
• It was the first show to have a toilet rush on a prime-time show. WOW, we have come a long way to what we see and hear now.
• The lead female “Edith” was played as a women with a horrible singing voice. In reality, she was an accomplished singer and a successful Broadway actress.
• Archie and Edith’s favorite living room chairs are now in the Smithsonian Institute Museum in Washington, DC.
• Mickey Rooney was almost cast as Archie Bunker
• The show’s first episode had a warning after the title that read “Suggested for the mature audience”
• The third episode which was a little hard for some people to watch contained a different warning, written by Norman Lear, that read “The program you are about to see is ALL in the Family. It seeks to throw a humorous spotlight on our frailties, prejudices, and concerns. By making them a source of laughter, we hope to show – in a mature fashion – just how absurd they are.”
• Jean Stapleton who portrayed Archie’s wife chose to remain as “Edith Bunker” in 1971 when she was asked to take a leading role in :Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”
• Carroll O’Connor wrote the lyrics of the closing theme song
See for yourself why this television series is LEGENDARY & HISTORIC
Get the complete series here:
There were seven other spin-off shows from “All in the Family”. The Top three spin-offs were also ground-breaking, award-winning shows and are available for your collections.
• “Maude” 1972-1978 (141 episodes)
“Maude” Seasons 1-6 available at DeepDiscount.com
• “Good Times” 1974-1979 (123 episodes)
Good Times: The Complete Series on DeepDiscount.com
• “The Jeffersons” 1975-1984 (252 episodes)
The Jeffersons: The Complete Series (The Dee-luxe Edition) on DeepDiscount.com
• “Archie Bunker’s Place” 1979-1983 (97 episodes)
• “Checking In” 1981 (4 episodes)
• “Gloria” 1982-1983 (21 episodes)
• “704 Hauser” 1994 (6 episodes
Norman Lear has continued to actively produce television, including the remake of One Day at a Time in 2017 and the Netflix revival of Good Times in 2022. His re-imagined Cuban American version of “One Day at a Time” is in the Top Ten New Shows of 2017, and the second season is now streaming on Netflix.
At 100, this is what Norman Lear is currently “still” working on…
He is currently an executive producer on the award-winning Epix docuseries “America Divided”, now in season two. He is also in production on the pilot of “Guess Who Died”, an NBC comedy featuring a cast of senior citizens. Will Mr. Lear make this demographic, “golden” again? I THINK SO!
You can also check out his weekly podcast “All of the Above with Norman Lear”
In his personal, down time, Norman Lear is “still”…………
The father of six, the grandfather of four, and a husband to Lyn Lear.
He is a liberal, a philanthropist and a political & social activist. He supports and funds First Amendment rights and progressive politicians and causes. In 1980, Lear founded the advocacy organization “People for the American Way” to counter the influence of the Christian right in politics. In the early 2000s, he organized and led a tour of the Declaration of Independence.
After ALL of Norman Lear’s life-long achievements I must leave you with just one more that happened long before he became one of the “GREATEST TELEVSION PIONEERS of ALL-TIME”
Before beginning his long and highly successful career in television, Norman Lear joined the military. It was 1942 and he was 20 years old. He served as an Army Air Force pilot in World War II. From 1942-1945 he flew 52 successful combat missions and was awarded the prestigious, Air Medal
The television Icon, Norman Lear has also received numerous prestigious awards, to include five Emmys, the National Medal of Arts, and the Kennedy Center Honors. In 1975 he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was one of the first seven television pioneers to be inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
I will end with my favorite quote about Norman Lear
“Norman Lear, transformed the American cultural landscape, bringing the social and political issues of the day into American living rooms for the first time”…….YES HE DID!
THANK YOU, NORMAN LEAR for all your years of service to our country in the military and THANK YOU, for the classic, thought provoking, game-changing, historic television shows……the years of laughter…all the important and beloved characters that you brought to life.
AND….HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY MR. LEAR ….take some time off for a BIG piece of cake!