Biography

Norman Milton Lear is an American television writer and producer who produced such 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude. As a political activist, he founded the advocacy organization People for the American Way in 1981 and has supported First Amendment rights and progressive causes.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, to Enie/Jeanette (Sokolovsky) and Hyman "Herman" Lear, a traveling salesman. His grandparents were all Russian Jewish immigrants. Jeanette was the inspiration for the character Edith Bunker, and Herman for Archie Bunker.

Lear won a one year-scholarship to Emerson College. He dropped out when news about Pearl Harbor struck, and decided to enroll in the United States Army. He was nineteen. In the army, Norman was a radio operator. He was discharged in 1945.

Norman landed a press agent job but was not being paid well so decided to pursue another career. In 1954, he was a writer for the CBS sitcom, Honestly, Celeste! Lear then became the producer of NBC's The Martha Raye Show. In 1959, he created his first TV series with Roland Kibbee, The Deputy, on NBC, starring Henry Fonda. In 1967 his comedic writing career began. He wrote and produced the 1967 film, Divorce American Style, and directed the film, Cold Turkey, starring Dick Van Dyke.

All In The Family came about when Lear read a British column on the show "Til Death Do Us Part", about a father and a son-in-law who fought about everything politically. He immediately knew it was just like him and his father. Lear tried to sell the "blue" collar sitcom to ABC, and two pilots were filmed and rejected. A third pilot was filmed, and CBS picked up the show. It premiered on January 12, 1971.

When it was first aired, a big warning appeared on the screen stating none of the content being presented should be taken seriously and should only be seen for the purpose of hilarity. Next came Sanford And Son, along with creator Bud Yorkin, in 1972. It was inspired by British sitcom Steptoe and Son. In All In The Family, a guest-star named Bea Arthur appeared in an episode and in 1972 the first spin-off was formed called Maude, starring Arthur. A memorable episode from Maude which struck a degree of controversy was the abortion episode.

A spin-off from Maude, Good Times, with the maid character played by Esther Rolle, premiered in 1974, dealing with issues like poverty, crime, welfare and life in low-income African-American housing areas. This wasn't the only sitcom to depict life for African-Americans: in 1975 The Jeffersons, another spin-off from All In The Family, followed.

All In The Family received multiple Emmy awards. Good Times ran for five seasons till 1979, with multiple Golden Globe nominations. Maude ran for six seasons, till 1978, receiving multiple Emmy and Golden Globe wins and nominations. Sanford and Son ended in 1977 with a Golden Globe win and several Emmy nominations. All In The Family ended in 1979, after nine seasons.

Next came another spin-off of the show called Archie Bunker's Place, with Caroll O'Connor and Danielle Brisebois. Archie Bunker's Place ended in 1983, and was his last successful television show. Lear made a comeback in 1990 with several short-lived shows, including Sunday Dinner and 704 Hauser.

Norman Milton Lear is an American television writer and producer who produced such 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude. As a political activist, he founded the advocacy organization People for the American Way in 1981 and has supported First Amendment rights and progressive causes.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, to Enie/Jeanette (Sokolovsky) and Hyman "Herman" Lear, a traveling salesman. His grandparents were all Russian Jewish immigrants. Jeanette was the inspiration for the character Edith Bunker, and Herman for Archie Bunker.

Lear won a one year-scholarship to Emerson College. He dropped out when news about Pearl Harbor struck, and decided to enroll in the United States Army. He was nineteen. In the army, Norman was a radio operator. He was discharged in 1945.

Norman landed a press agent job but was not being paid well so decided to pursue another career. In 1954, he was a writer for the CBS sitcom, Honestly, Celeste! Lear then became the producer of NBC's The Martha Raye Show. In 1959, he created his first TV series with Roland Kibbee, The Deputy, on NBC, starring Henry Fonda. In 1967 his comedic writing career began. He wrote and produced the 1967 film, Divorce American Style, and directed the film, Cold Turkey, starring Dick Van Dyke.

All In The Family came about when Lear read a British column on the show "Til Death Do Us Part", about a father and a son-in-law who fought about everything politically. He immediately knew it was just like him and his father. Lear tried to sell the "blue" collar sitcom to ABC, and two pilots were filmed and rejected. A third pilot was filmed, and CBS picked up the show. It premiered on January 12, 1971.

When it was first aired, a big warning appeared on the screen stating none of the content being presented should be taken seriously and should only be seen for the purpose of hilarity. Next came Sanford And Son, along with creator Bud Yorkin, in 1972. It was inspired by British sitcom Steptoe and Son. In All In The Family, a guest-star named Bea Arthur appeared in an episode and in 1972 the first spin-off was formed called Maude, starring Arthur. A memorable episode from Maude which struck a degree of controversy was the abortion episode.

A spin-off from Maude, Good Times, with the maid character played by Esther Rolle, premiered in 1974, dealing with issues like poverty, crime, welfare and life in low-income African-American housing areas. This wasn't the only sitcom to depict life for African-Americans: in 1975 The Jeffersons, another spin-off from All In The Family, followed.

All In The Family received multiple Emmy awards. Good Times ran for five seasons till 1979, with multiple Golden Globe nominations. Maude ran for six seasons, till 1978, receiving multiple Emmy and Golden Globe wins and nominations. Sanford and Son ended in 1977 with a Golden Globe win and several Emmy nominations. All In The Family ended in 1979, after nine seasons.

Next came another spin-off of the show called Archie Bunker's Place, with Caroll O'Connor and Danielle Brisebois. Archie Bunker's Place ended in 1983, and was his last successful television show. Lear made a comeback in 1990 with several short-lived shows, including Sunday Dinner and 704 Hauser.

Personal Info

Known For Production

Gender Male

Known Credits 57

Birthday 1922-07-27

Place of Birth New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • -

Production TV ShowsMovies

2017 One Day at a Time(26 episodes)Executive Producer
1997 Channel Umptee-3(13 episodes)Producer
1992 The Powers That Be(21 episodes)Producer
1991 Sunday Dinner(6 episodes)Producer
1987 The Princess BrideExecutive Producer
1984 a.k.a. Pablo(6 episodes)Producer
1980 Palmerstown, U.S.A.(18 episodes)Producer
1979 Hanging In(4 episodes)Producer
1977 A Year at the Top(5 episodes)Producer
1976 The Nancy Walker Show(12 episodes)Producer
1976 Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman(307 episodes)Producer
1975 One Day at a Time(211 episodes)Producer
1975 Hot l Baltimore(13 episodes)Producer
1974 Good Times(133 episodes)Producer
1973 The Thief Who Came to DinnerProducer
1972 Maude(141 episodes)Executive Producer
1972 Sanford and Son(136 episodes)Producer
1971 Cold TurkeyProducer
1971 All in the Family(212 episodes)Producer
1971 All in the Family(212 episodes)Executive Producer
1970 Start the Revolution Without MeExecutive Producer
1968 The Night They Raided Minsky'sProducer
1963 Come Blow Your HornProducer

Creator

Justice for AllCreator
Those Were the DaysCreator
Mr. DuganCreator
1994 704 HauserCreator
1991 Sunday DinnerCreator
1984 a.k.a. PabloCreator
1979 Archie Bunker's PlaceCreator
1979 The Facts of LifeCreator
1978 Apple PieCreator
1978 Apple PieCreator
1978 America 2-NightCreator
1977 Fernwood 2 NightCreator
1977 All That GlittersCreator
1976 The Nancy Walker ShowCreator
1976 All's FairCreator
1975 One Day at a TimeCreator
1975 The JeffersonsCreator
1972 MaudeCreator
1972 Sanford and SonCreator
1971 All in the FamilyCreator
1959 The DeputyCreator

Acting

TV Revolution(3 episodes)
2017 If You're Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast as Himself
2016 America Divided(5 episodes) as Himself
2016 Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You as Himself
2015 StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson(1 episode) as Himself
2009 The Brothers Warner as Himself
2005 Iconoclasts(1 episode) as Himself
2005 A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin
2004 Jack & Bobby(1 episode)
2003 The Golden Girls: Lifetime Intimate Portrait Series
1997 South Park(1 episode)
1997 Perfect Moment as Himself
1996 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah(1 episode) as Himself
1996 E! True Hollywood Story(1 episode)
1992 Color Adjustment as Himself
1978 A Different Approach
1975 Saturday Night Live(1 episode)

Writing

2017 The 40th Annual Kennedy Center HonorsWriter
1994 704 Hauser(1 episode)Writer
1991 Sunday Dinner(1 episode)Writer
1984 a.k.a. Pablo(1 episode)Writer
1971 Cold TurkeyScreenplay
1971 All in the Family(10 episodes)Writer
1968 The Night They Raided Minsky'sScreenplay
1967 Divorce American StyleWriter
1963 Come Blow Your HornScreenplay
1953 Scared StiffWriter
1950 The Colgate Comedy Hour(1 episode)Writer

Directing

2017 The 40th Annual Kennedy Center HonorsDirector
1994 704 Hauser(1 episode)Director
1992 The Powers That Be(2 episodes)Director
1971 Cold TurkeyDirector
1971 All in the Family(1 episode)Director

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