Norman Lear, who made a profound impact on television with his shows like “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “The Jeffersons,” has died. He was 101. The legendary TV producer died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes, his rep Matthew Lawrence confirmed Wednesday. A private service for immediate family will be held. The entertainment industry is prone to hyperbole, but it’s no exaggeration to say that the writer/producer had a huge influence on television and social attitudes with a series of entertaining, challenging and controversial TV series starting in the early 1970s.
A native of New Haven, Connecticut, Lear is best known for creating the groundbreaking comedy series, “All in the Family,” which broached social and political issues deemed controversial at the time. Before his successful career in entertainment, Lear joined the United States Army Air Forces in 1942, where he fought through World War II. He was discharged in 1945 and became a publicist, ultimately moving his career and family to California. After transitioning into producing, Lear — who was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984 — went on to create multiple iconic TV series that established a socially-realistic genre and explored his democratic values, including “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and “The Jeffersons.” Lear’s other notable shows include “Maude,” “Good Times,” “Sanford and Son” and “Fernwood 2 Night.”
Mr. Lear’s business career began in 1959 with his co-founding of Tandem Productions, Inc. In 1974, he and his partners created T.A.T. Communications, later known as Embassy Communications. He is currently chairman of Act III Communications, a multimedia holding with interests in the recording, motion picture, broadcasting and publishing industries. His memoir, Even This I Get To Experience, was published in October 2014 by The Penguin Press. An American Masters documentary, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, based on Lear’s memoir had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Currently, Lear is executive producing a hit, re-imagined Latino version of the iconic One Day at a Time for Netflix (2017) and a five-part docuseries based on social and economic inequality called, America Divided, for EPIX. His half-hour spec comedy script Guess Who Died, set in a retirement home, offers a humorous and inspiring look at the shared joys and challenges we all face throughout our lives and has just gone to pilot at NBC.
Mr. Lear was married to Lyn Davis Lear and has six children: Ellen, Kate, Maggie, Benjamin, Brianna and Madeline.