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Obituary: Norman Lear 1922-2023

Updated: Jun 4

Norman Lear July 27, 1922 - December 5, 2023 (Age 101 Year)


Norman Lear, the legendary television producer and writer who revolutionized American sitcoms with his groundbreaking work, passed away on December 5, 2023 at the age of 101. He died peacefully at his home in Los Angeles.


Born Norman Milton Lear on July 27, 1922, in New Haven, Connecticut, Lear grew up during the Great Depression. He attended Emerson College before enlisting in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. After the war, Lear pursued a career in entertainment, eventually becoming one of the most influential figures in television history.

Lear's first major success came with the creation of "All in the Family" in 1971, a show that tackled social issues with humor and candor, forever changing the landscape of television. He followed this with an array of other successful and socially relevant shows, including "Sanford and Son," "Maude," "Good Times," "The Jeffersons," and "One Day at a Time."

Known for his willingness to address controversial topics such as racism, sexism, and politics, Lear's work not only entertained but also provoked thought and discussion, reflecting and challenging societal norms. His impact on television is immeasurable, as he brought a new level of depth and realism to the medium.

In addition to his television work, Lear was a dedicated philanthropist and political activist. He founded People for the American Way in 1981, an organization dedicated to defending constitutional values and promoting progressive causes. Throughout his life, he remained committed to advocating for civil rights and social justice.

Lear is survived by his wife, Lyn Davis Lear, and his six children: Ellen, Kate, Maggie, Benjamin, Brianna, and Madelaine. A private memorial service will be held in [Location], attended by close friends and family, celebrating his extraordinary life and contributions to television and society.

Norman Lear leaves behind an indelible legacy that will continue to influence and inspire future generations. His groundbreaking work in television and his unwavering commitment to social justice have left an enduring mark on American culture. He will be remembered not only as a prolific creator but also as a man who used his platform to make the world a better place.

➱ Remembering Norman:

“We have lost a giant … a man of great humor and dignity,” “What an amazing life that has given so much to us all. He used laughter as a way to look at ourselves. A blessing to have been his friend for almost 50 yrs.” - Billy Crystal

“I loved Norman Lear with all my heart. He was my second father. Sending my love to Lyn and the whole Lear family.” - Rob Reiner

“Norman Lear was a consummate pioneer in television and a true humanitarian through the arts. His insight into culture and society became the foundation of each show he launched on television: shows that taught us about one another and helped us grow as a nation. He also founded People for the American Way where he exercised his passion for advocacy. I am a better man because of Norman Lear. He was a mentor, guide and very close friend who changed my life for the better as an actor and human being. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him, work with him and establish the friendship that developed over the years. His legacy lives on through his works and the impact that he has had on us all.We are better as a society and country today because of Norman Lear.” - John Amos

Disney CEO Iger: “icon and the brilliant mind behind countless timely and meaningful shows that were full of heart and humor.” “He wasn’t afraid to take risks and was one of the most influential storytellers in television history,” “no words to fully express the monumental impact and legacy that Norman Lear leaves behind. His passion went far beyond the screen as a veteran, philanthropist and social activist. Our hearts are with his wife, Lyn, his children and all those who knew and loved him. Norman, we thank you for the beautiful stories that transformed our industry and for making us laugh along the way.”

“It’s hard to reconcile that at 101 years old, Norman Lear is gone too soon. The entire world of reason just lost its greatest advocate and our family lost a dear friend. A giant walked in his shoes.” - George Clooney

See Norman Lear's Biography



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