SAG-AFTRA today honors the legacy of iconic writer-producer and SAG-AFTRA member Norman Lear, a television institution, who died Tuesday at age 101.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said, “I grew up watching Norman Lear sitcoms that made me think and question so much about the way we look and feel about a myriad of topics that were never a part of comedy. He took real issues and made them a part of sitcom families, and he showed life as it was. Not white-washed, not oppressed, but real, for young people, for women, for people of color, for people with and without money.
The first time I worked for him, the first day of the reading of the script, I was late and I was so nervous. I walked into the room, everybody was sitting around the table, and I said, ‘I’m so sorry that I’m late,’ and Norman said, ‘That’s ok, anyone that can look that good at this hour of the morning deserves to be late,’ and I never forgot his generosity and his brilliant need to elevate people and to think differently with a greater capacity for understanding each other.
I saw him as recently as one year ago when I was being honored at the Hollywood Museum and he was presenting. We sat together and talked about so many things. I marveled at how sharp his mind still was even at a few months shy of 100 years old. He was a great man, a great producer, and a great American who will be greatly missed but long remembered.”
Lear joined AFTRA in 1953 and SAG in 1991.