Norman Lear, a transformative influence on American culture, reshaped television with bravery, moral consciousness, and humor, bringing enlightenment to our nation and often touching our hearts.
The diverse characters he crafted presented a more comprehensive image of America, capturing our aspirations and challenges, the everyday moments of fear, and resilience. From Archie Bunker and George Jefferson to the ensembles of “Good Times” and “One Day at a Time,” his characters became ingrained in the lives of millions of Americans, serving as reminders of family or neighbors. We cherished them, disagreed with them, evolved with them, cheered for them, and, in the process, altered the way we perceive ourselves.
Norman interrupted his college education to serve in the Army during World War II, completing 52 missions in Europe. The lessons he learned in defending democracy and freedom during that time stayed with him. Upon arriving in Hollywood at the inception of television, he played a pivotal role in shaping the emergence of a medium that defined American culture, utilizing it to propel our national discourse forward. Over his impressive 75-year career, which encompassed more than 100 shows and films, as well as accolades such as six Emmys, two Peabodys, a National Medal of Arts, and a Kennedy Center Honor, he fearlessly tackled challenging subjects, addressing issues of racism, class, divorce, and abortion while capturing the grace and dignity in people’s lives. Engaging in decades of political advocacy, he directly championed free speech, a woman’s right to choose, environmental concerns, voting rights, and more.
Norman’s love for America resonated in the heartfelt narratives he shared, delving into the good, the bad, and the truth of our nation as it strives to forge a more perfect union. He succeeded in making generations of Americans care, and for that, we are indebted.
Our condolences extend to Norman’s wife, Lyn Davis Lear, his six children—Ellen, Kate, Maggie, Ben, Madeline, and Brianna Lear—and his four grandchildren.