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Norman Lear

Norman Lear

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Also Known As: Norman Milton Lear Died:
Born: July 27, 1922 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New Haven, Connecticut, USA Profession: producer, director, screenwriter, baby photographer, salesperson

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Writer and executive producer Norman Lear was one of the very few individuals who had a profound impact on the development of television. After spending almost two decades honing his skills on various comedy shows during television's golden age, Lear created "All in the Family" (CBS, 1971-79), a groundbreaking and often controversial series that laid waste to the sitcom mold by tackling taboo issues like racism, gender roles and the war in Vietnam, while remaining one of the funniest and most well-written shows in television history. Though Lear wore his liberal views on his sleeve, "All in the Family" was strangely embraced by conservative America, which largely agreed with his creation's curmudgeonly main character, who wanted a return to the good old days. The show also became famous for spawning a number of spin-offs, namely "Maude" (CBS, 1972-78) and "The Jeffersons" (CBS, 1975-1985). All three series lived on past cancellation, gaining new generations of fans in repeated syndication airings. While he would prove instrumental in other hits like "Good Times" (CBS, 1974-79) and "One Day at a Time" (CBS, 1975-1984), Lear would always be remembered as not only an innovator, but an icon of American...

Writer and executive producer Norman Lear was one of the very few individuals who had a profound impact on the development of television. After spending almost two decades honing his skills on various comedy shows during television's golden age, Lear created "All in the Family" (CBS, 1971-79), a groundbreaking and often controversial series that laid waste to the sitcom mold by tackling taboo issues like racism, gender roles and the war in Vietnam, while remaining one of the funniest and most well-written shows in television history. Though Lear wore his liberal views on his sleeve, "All in the Family" was strangely embraced by conservative America, which largely agreed with his creation's curmudgeonly main character, who wanted a return to the good old days. The show also became famous for spawning a number of spin-offs, namely "Maude" (CBS, 1972-78) and "The Jeffersons" (CBS, 1975-1985). All three series lived on past cancellation, gaining new generations of fans in repeated syndication airings. While he would prove instrumental in other hits like "Good Times" (CBS, 1974-79) and "One Day at a Time" (CBS, 1975-1984), Lear would always be remembered as not only an innovator, but an icon of American television, due mainly to the timeless appeal of his biggest and most influential hit, "All in the Family."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Cold Turkey (1971) Director
2.
  I Love Liberty (1982) Creator

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Ghettophysics (2010)
3.
 Color Adjustment (1992) Himself
4.
 Intimate Portrait: Isabel Sanford (2003) Interviewee
5.
 Intimate Portrait: Linda Gray (2003) Interviewee
6.
 Intimate Portrait: Bea Arthur (2003) Interviewee
7.
 Everybody Loves Raymond: The First Six Years (2002) Special Appearance
8.
 Ben Stein's Brain (2001) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1942:
Served in the Air Force during WWII
:
Worked in public relations
1951:
Joined the NBC show "Ford Star Review" as a staff writer
1953:
First screenwriting credit, "Scared Stiff"
1955:
Produced the NBC series, "The Martha Raye Show"; also wrote and directed several episodes
1959:
Created first series, the half-hour NBC western starring Henry Fonda, "The Deputy"
1959:
Founded Tandem Productions with Bud Yorkin
1961:
First TV pilot as producer, "Band of Gold" (CBS)
1962:
Produced "The Andy Williams Show" (NBC)
1963:
Produced first film (with Yorkin), "Come Blow Your Horn"; also scripted
1967:
Wrote and produced, "Divorce American Style"; earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay
1971:
Feature directing debut "Cold Turkey" starred Dick Van Dyke
1971:
Created the popular sitcom, "All in the Family" (CBS); also produced and wrote several episodes
1972:
Co-created and co-executive produced, "Sanford and Son" (NBC)
1972:
Created and co-executive produced, "Maude" (CBS); a spin-off sitcom from "All in the Family"
1974:
Ended partnership with Yorkin and went on to form TAT Communications
1975:
Created "The Jeffersons" (CBS), another spin-off series from "All in the Family"
1975:
Executive produced the CBS sitcom, "One Day at a Time"
1976:
Produced the soap opera parody, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" (syndicated)
1976:
Created the CBS series, "All's Fair"
1980:
Co-created (with Alex Haley) and co-executive produced, "Palmerstown USA" (CBS)
1982:
With partner Jerry Perenchio purchased Embassy Films; re-named company Embassy Communications
1982:
Produced the ABC variety special, "I Love Liberty"
1984:
Produced the short-lived ABC sitcom, "a.k.a. Pablo"
1984:
Financed Rob Reiner's mockumentary, "This is Spinal Tap"
1986:
Sold Embassy Communications to Columbia Pictures (then owned by the Coca-Cola Company); founded Act III Communications (with Tom McGrath)
1986:
Financed Rob Reiner's second film, "Stand by Me"; produced by Lear's Act III Communications
1987:
Produced Rob Reiner's "The Princess Bride"
1991:
Returned to series TV as creator and executive producer of "Sunday Dinner" (CBS)
1991:
Produced the film, "Fried Green Tomatoes"
1992:
Created and produced, "The Powers That Be" (NBC)
1994:
Created and produced the short-lived CBS sitcom, "704 Hauser Street"
2001:
Produced (with Rob Reiner) a filmed, dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall in Philadelphia
2003:
Voiced Benjamin Franklin in an episode of "South Park" (Comedy Central)
2007:
Executive produced, "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" about the folk artist
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Weaver High School: Hartford , Connecticut - 1940
Emerson College: Boston , Massachusetts - 1940 - 1942

Notes

Lear was named Showman of the Year by the Publicist Guild in 1972 and 1977.

He was named Broadcaster of the Year by the International Radio and Television Society in 1973.

Lear received the 1976 Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews

Lear was inducted in to the Television Hall of Fame in 1984.

The "T.A.T." in T.A.T. Communications, Lear's company from 1974-82, comes from a Yiddish expression Tochis Affen Tisch, which idiomatically means "Put up or shut up," but literally means, "put your ass on the table".

"I had no insight into the world of television. But I was so delighted with the material because it was so fresh and good. I thought, 'Wow, this on TV!'" --Jean Stapleton on "All in the Family" quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 2, 1990.

Often said to have writer's block, Lear, instead, told the Los Angeles Times, December 2, 1990, "[I always have] a difficult time getting started on something fresh, which people really close to me, who love me say, 'Give yourself a break; it's the incubation period,' and I'm the one who beats on myself."

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Frances Lear. Publisher. Born c. 1923; married in December 1956; separated c. 1983; received $112 million divorce settlement from Lear; published LEAR'S magazine, ceased publication in 1994; died of breast cancer in September 1996.
wife:
Lyn Lear. Psychologist. Met in 1984; married in 1987; born c. 1947.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Herman Lear. Salesman.
mother:
Jeannette Lear.
daughter:
Ellen Lear. Sex therapist. Mother Lear's first; born c. 1947 wife.
daughter:
Kate B LaPook. Executive. Mother Frances Lear; born c. 1958; works at father's company ACT III Communications as head of development.
daughter:
Maggie B Lear. Mother, Frances Lear; born c. 1959.
son:
Benjamin Davis Lear. Mother Lyn Lear; born c. 1988.
daughter:
Madelaine Rose Lear. Born November 1994 to a surrogate mother; twin.
daughter:
Brianna Elizabeth Lear. Born November 1994 to a surrogate mother; twin.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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