Norman Lear, Legendary TV Producer, Dead at 101

Norman Lear, the acclaimed television producer behind ‘70s sitcoms All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times and more, has died at 101, his family has confirmed.

By Kisha Forde Dec 06, 2023 2:48 PMTags
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Hollywood is mourning the loss of a TV legend.

Norman Lear, the legendary screenwriter and producer who created numerous classic sitcoms including All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, and Good Times, died on Dec. 5, his family has confirmed. He was 101.

"It is with profound sadness and love that we announce the passing of Norman Lear, our beloved husband, father, and grandfather," his family shared in a statement posted to his official Instagram page Dec. 6. "Norman passed away peacefully on December 5, 2023, surrounded by his family as we told stories and sang songs until the very end."

His loved ones noted that the Connecticut native "lived a life in awe of the world around him."

"He marveled at his cup of coffee every morning, the shape of the tree outside his window, and the sounds of beautiful music," they continued. "But it was people—those he just met and those he knew for decades—who kept his mind and heart forever young. As we celebrate his legacy and reflect on the next chapter of life without him, we would like to thank everyone for all the love and support."

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Lear's impressive writing career began in the 1950s, creating comedic sketches and monologues for variety television shows in Los Angeles.

After switching gears to direct movies, Lear would return back to television with the creation of All in the Family, the CBS sitcom that debuted in 1971 and would serve as a launching pad for a string of successful shows to follow including Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time and more.

His career as a writer, producer, and creator, often tackling issues considered to be taboo, would span over the course of seven decades and include over 100 shows. In his later years, his work continued to flourish, working as a producer on the revised versions of his sitcoms including the 2017 remake of One Day at a Time and the 2022 Netflix revival of Good Times.

After becoming a centenarian in July 2022, Lear penned an op-ed reflecting on what it meant to celebrate a century of life.

"It is remarkable to consider that television—the medium for which I am most well-known—did not even exist when I was born, in 1922," he wrote in an article published by The New York Times. "The internet came along decades later, and then social media. We have seen that each of these technologies can be put to destructive use—spreading lies, sowing hatred and creating the conditions for authoritarianism to take root. But that is not the whole story."

As Lear explained, he firmly believed in always looking ahead.

"Two of my favorite words are 'over' and 'next,'" he added. "It's an attitude that has served me well through a long life of ups and downs, along with a deeply felt appreciation for the absurdity of the human condition. Reaching this birthday with my health and wits mostly intact is a privilege. Approaching it with loving family, friends and creative collaborators to share my days has filled me with a gratitude I can hardly express."

For his contributions, Lear won six Primetime Emmys, two Peabody Awards, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1999. Additionally, he was bestowed with the Kennedy Center Honors in 2017 and the Golden Globe Carol Burnett Award in 2021.
Lear is survived by his wife Lyn and their kids Benjamin, Brianna and Madeline, as well as children Ellen, Kate and Maggie from his previous marriages and four grandchildren.

Shortly after news of his passing was shared, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Tony Vinciquerra, remembered his longtime colleague. 

"A Founding Father in our industry, Norman and the shows he created defined what great television could be," he shared in a statement. "Always entertaining, impactful, and fearless in addressing society's most complex and difficult issues through humor, shows like All In The Family, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time set the standard for modern television audiences and paved the way for just about every great situation comedy or drama that has followed since. Norman will forever be recognized among the great television legends, and we are honored to have had him as part of the Sony family. It was always a such a joy having him with us on the lot, and I'm already missing being able to check in with him. Our hearts go out to Lyn and his family and all those who had the pleasure of knowing him."

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