Norman Lear

Norman Lear Headshot

Producer • Writer

Birth Date: July 27, 1922

Death Date: December 5, 2023

Birth Place: New Haven, Connecticut

Norman Lear was an American TV writer, producer, film director and political activist who was best known for producing some of the most popular television shows of the 1970s, including "Sanford and Son" (NBC, 1972-77), "The Jeffersons" (CBS, 1975-1985), "Good Times" (CBS, 1974-79) and most notably, "All in the Family" (CBS, 1971-79). Born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, Lear never planned on having a career in Hollywood. He attended Emerson College in Boston, but left to join the United States Air Force at the outbreak of World War II. Lear was a radio operator/gunner during the war, and flew 52 combat missions. When the war ended, Lear returned to the states and began a career in public relations. He later found himself in Los Angeles, where he met a young aspiring comedy writer named Ed Simmons. Excited by the idea of writing comedy for the new medium of television, Lear teamed up with Simmons and together the two wrote television comedy sketches and jokes for some of the most notable comedians of the 1950s, including Rowan and Martin and Martin and Lewis, as well as a variety of other 50s comedy shows. By the 1960s Lear had decided to branch out on his own to try his hand at film writing and directing. He wrote the screenplay to the 1967 comedy, "Divorce American Style," which earned him an Oscar nomination, and followed that up by directing the films "Justice for All" (1968) and "Cold Turkey" (1971). Then in 1971 Lear produced a show about a working class family in Queens, New York called "All in the Family." Although not an immediate hit, "All in the Family," which was groundbreaking for its time for boldly tackling such hotbed cultural and political topics as racism, abortion and the Vietnam War, eventually found its audience, and quickly became one of the most popular shows on television. With the success of "All in the Family," several other Lear-produced shows followed, including "The Jeffersons," "Sanford and Son," "Good Times," and "Maude" (CBS, 1972-78). By the 1980s Lear had turned his attention to the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, which he also founded. He attempted to return to TV producing in the 1990s with the shows "Sunday Dinner" (CBS, 1991) and "704 Hauser" (CBS, 1994), but both shows failed to catch on with the public. In the ensuing years Lear's immense contributions to television began earning him a multitude of honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Woody Guthrie Prize, and the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2017, when he was well into his 90s, Lear had somewhat of a late-career comeback when Netflix rebooted his series "One Day at a Time" (Netflix, 2017- ). The reboot, which starred an ensemble cast that included Justin Machado and Rita Moreno, premiered on the streaming service in January of 2017. After three seasons, Netflix canceled the series in March of 2019.

Credits

I Got a Monster

Executive Producer
Movie
2023

Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter

Self
Special
2022

Sr.Stream

Self
Movie
2022
97%

Live in Front of a Studio Audience

Executive Producer
Special
2021

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for ItStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2021
96%

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for ItStream

Self
Movie
2021
96%

Find Your Groove

Self
Movie
2020

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times

Executive Producer
Show
2019

The Kelly Clarkson ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2019

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons

Executive Producer
Show
2019

All About All in the Family and The Jeffersons

Guest
Show
2019

To Dine For With Kate Sullivan

Guest
Show
2018

The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

Guest
Show
2017

The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben BradleeStream

Actor
Movie
2017
94%

Will & GraceStream

Actor
Series
2017
74%

The Hollywood Masters

Guest
Show
2017

If You're Not in the Obit, Eat BreakfastStream

Actor
Movie
2017

Truth & Iliza

Guest
Talk
2017

The History of ComedyStream

Self
Docuseries
2017

One Day at a TimeStream

Executive Producer
Series
2017
99%

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be MeStream

Self
Movie
2017
100%

America Divided

Correspondent
Docuseries
2016

To Tell the TruthStream

Guest
Game Show
2016

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of YouStream

Self
Movie
2016
86%

StarTalkStream

Guest
Docuseries
2015

The Nightly Show With Larry WilmoreStream

Guest
Talk
2015
100%

Stand Up Planet

Host
Show
2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
Talk
2014

Larry King NowStream

Guest
Talk
2012

Finding Your RootsStream

Guest
Reality
2012

CBS This Morning: Saturday

Guest
Show
2012

CBS This Morning

Guest
Show
2012

Big Morning Buzz Live

Guest
Show
2011

On Story

Guest
Show
2011

The Open Mind

Guest
Talk
2010

The Dr. Oz Show

Guest
Talk
2009

The Brothers WarnerStream

Actor
Movie
2008

El Superstar: The Unlikely Rise of Juan Frances

Executive Producer
Movie
2008

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

Executive Producer
Movie
2007

Jack & Bobby

Guest Star
Series
2004
88%

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

The Early Show

Guest
Show
1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

South ParkStream

Guest Voice
Benjamin Franklin
Series
1997
80%

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

704 Hauser

Creator
Series
1994

Late Show With David Letterman

Guest
Talk
1993

Sunday Dinner

Producer
Series
1991

Sunday Dinner

Writer
Series
1991

Fried Green TomatoesStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1991
76%

The SimpsonsStream

Guest Voice
Self
Series
1989
85%

The Princess BrideStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1987
98%

P.O.P.

Executive Producer
Show
1984

P.O.P.

Writer
Show
1984

a.k.a. Pablo

Executive Producer
Show
1984

Palmerstown, U.S.A.

Creator
Series
1980

CBS News Sunday Morning

Guest
News
1979

Fernwood 2 Night

Executive Producer
Series
1977

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Producer
Series
1976

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Host
Series
1975

Good TimesStream

Creator
Series
1974

Good TimesStream

Writer
Series
1974

MaudeStream

Executive Producer
Series
1972

Sanford & SonStream

Creator
Series
1972

All in the FamilyStream

Executive Producer
Series
1971

All in the FamilyStream

Writer
Series
1971

Cold Turkey

Director
Movie
1971

The Dick Cavett ShowStream

Actor
Talk
1968

The Night They Raided Minsky's

Producer
Movie
1968

The Night They Raided Minsky's

Screenwriter
Movie
1968

Divorce American Style

Producer
Movie
1967

Never Too Late

Producer
Movie
1965

The Andy Williams Special

Writer
Show
1962

Henry Fonda and the Family

Actor
Show
1962

Henry Fonda and the Family

Screenwriter
Show
1962

The DeputyStream

Creator
Series
1959

Scared Stiff

Writer
Movie
1953

News aboutNorman Lear

Emmys In Memoriam Snubs
Emmys

Emmys In Memoriam: Jerry Springer, Ryan O’Neal & More Snubbed in Jam-Packed Tribute

Ellen Pompeo and Katherine Heigl Grey's Anatomy

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ & ‘The Sopranos’ Reunions Set for Emmys

Celebrity deaths 2023

Remembering the Stars We Lost in 2023: Matthew Perry, Ron Cephas Jones, Suzanne Somers, Norman Lear & More

Norman Lear (inset); the cast of 'Good Times' (R)

Norman Lear Cameo to Come in ‘Good Times’ Animated Series

Norman Lear, Redd Foxx, Bill Macy, Carroll O'Connor, TV GUIDE cover, April 6-12, 1974. Illustration by Jack Davis.TV Guide/courtesy Everett Collection

‘All in the Family’ & More Norman Lear Shows on TV Guide Magazine Covers

Norman Lear

Norman Lear Dies: Tributes Pour in From George Clooney, Jane Fonda, Jon Stewart & More

10 Best Norman Lear Shows, Ranked

Norman Lear

Norman Lear Dies: ‘All in the Family’ & ‘The Jeffersons’ Creator Was 101

Comedy Is Dead - Change My Mind

Comedy Is Dead And Audiences Killed It

Norman Lear

Norman Lear Calls Himself a ‘101-Year-Old Toddler’ on Milestone Birthday (VIDEO)

Miles Heizer and Vera Farmiga for 'The Corps'

Miles Heizer & Vera Farmiga to Lead Norman Lear Drama ‘The Corps’

Norman Lear 100 Years of Music and Laughter poster

‘Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music & Laughter’ Guests: George Clooney, Rita Moreno, Tom Hanks & More

Norman Lear

‘Clean Slate’ From Norman Lear Ordered to Series at Amazon Freevee

Norman Lear

‘Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter’: Jennifer Aniston, Amy Poehler & More to Appear in Special

Norman Lear

ABC Rings in Norman Lear’s 100th Birthday With TV Special

Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano on Who's The Boss?

Freevee Picks Up ‘Who’s The Boss?’ Sequel Starring Tony Danza & Alyssa Milano

Norman Lear and Brent Miller attend an evening with Jimmy Kimmel

Norman Lear & Brent Miller Board Gamergate Series as Executive Producers

Super Bob Einstein Movie HBO

‘The Super Bob Einstein Movie’ Pays Tribute to Late Comedian in First Look (VIDEO)

Diff'rent Strokes and Facts of Life live

All the Must-See Moments From ‘Facts of Life’ & ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ Live

LIVE IN FRONT OF A STUDIO AUDIENCE
Preview

How Long Does the ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’ Cast Get to Rehearse?

West Side Story - Rita Moreno, 1961
Review

Roush Review: ‘American Masters’ Salutes Rita Moreno, an EGOT for All Time

Marla Gibbs Days of Our Lives
Q&A

Marla Gibbs Talks Reuniting With Jackée Harry on ‘Days of Our Lives’

All in the Family - Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Carroll O'Connor, Sally Struthers

3 Essential ‘All in the Family’ Episodes to Stream Right Now

Emily Hampshire, Louise Lasser

‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman’ Reboot Taps ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Star Emily Hampshire

All in the Family

Norman Lear Catalogue to Stream Exclusively on Amazon Prime Video & IMDb TV

All in the Family
Review

Roush Review: How Sitcoms Changed With the Times

Mary Hartman Mary Hartman - Louise Lasser

What to Know About ‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,’ the Norman Lear Series Reboot

Justina Machado, Rita Moreno - One Day at a Time

‘One Day at a Time’ ‘Officially Over’: Twice-Canceled Series Won’t Be Saved Again

Dan Levy and Norman Lear

Master Class: Norman Lear & Daniel Levy Interview Each Other

live in front of a studio audience cast

Meet the New & Returning Cast for ‘Good Times’ & ‘All in the Family’ Live Episodes

Untitled design - 2019-11-26T133719.481
Preview

‘Good Times’ Jimmie Walker Weighs In on the Upcoming ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’

norman lear gallery cover

5 Other Norman Lear Shows That Should Go Live (PHOTOS)

Untitled design

The Paley Center Announces ‘A Special Tribute to Television’s Comedy Legends’

All In The Family
Preview

‘All in the Family’ & ‘The Jeffersons’ Live! Inside Recreating & Casting the Episodes

Super Soul Sunda - Oprah

Tracy Morgan, Norman Lear and More Join Oprah for ‘Super Soul Sunday’

Emerald City and One Day at a Time

Roush Review: ‘Emerald City’ a Revisionist Oz, ‘One Day at a Time’ a Reborn Sitcom

winter preview

Norman Lear and Rita Moreno Reboot ‘One Day at a Time’ for a New Generation

Norman Lear

Norman Lear on His ‘American Masters’ Documentary and Making Politically Engaged TV

Rob Robinson of Take Back The Land with Norman Lear in America Divided on Epix

‘America Divided’: Norman Lear, Common and Shonda Rhimes Dig Deep Into the Nation’s Biggest Problems

one-day-at-a-time

Norman Lear Still Hopeful on ‘One Day at a Time’ Remake

One Day At A Time

Norman Lear Aims to Remake Single-Mom Comedy One Day at a Time