WASHINGTON (7News) — Norman Lear, the legendary producer and writer known for his role in bringing stories of diverse American families to television and film screens for decades, has died at 101, according to his website.
He died surrounded by family on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, at his Los Angeles home due to natural causes, according to his website. He's survived by his six children and four grandchildren.
"Noman lived a life in awe of the world around him. He marveled at his cup of coffee every morning, the shape of the tree outside his window, and the sounds of beautiful music," according to a statement on behalf of Lear's family. " But it was people - those he just met and those he knew for decades- who kept his mind and heart forever young."
Lear's legacy career lasted for 75 years, producing shows like "The Jeffersons", "Good Times", "Sanford and Son", and "America 2-Night", among others. His work garnered millions of eyes across the country and gained him numerous honors; notably his induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984, the National Medal of Arts in 1999, and the Carol Burnett Award at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards. In 2017, he was a recipient of the 40th Kennedy Center Honors.
“I am a patriot, and I will not surrender that word to those who play to our worst impulses rather than our highest ideals," Lear wrote in a 2021 Washington Post opinion piece.
A political activist in his own right, his shows often included Black and Latino lead characters and diverse families living their daily lives.
His signature production was “All in the Family,” which was immersed in the headlines of the day, while also drawing upon Lear's childhood memories of his tempestuous father. Racism, feminism, and the Vietnam War were flashpoints in the sitcom featuring blue-collar conservative Archie Bunker, played by O'Connor, and liberal son-in-law Mike Stivic (Reiner). Jean Stapleton co-starred as Archie’s befuddled, but good-hearted wife, Edith, and Sally Struthers played the Bunkers' daughter, Gloria, who often clashed with Archie on behalf of her husband, according to the Associated Press.
Lear was born in 1922 in New Haven, Connecticut. As a teen, he acquired a scholarship from Emerson College in an oratorical contest and later dropped out of college to fight in World War II. According to his bio, Lear flew on 52 combat missions over Europe in a B-17 bomber.