The legendary television producer Norman Lear, who was behind such classic shows as “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “The Jeffersons,” died on Tuesday at the age of 101. His publicist told Variety that he died at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes.
Lear’s family said in a statement, “Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Norman lived a life of creativity, tenacity, and empathy. He deeply loved our country and spent a lifetime helping to preserve its founding ideals of justice and equality for all. Knowing and loving him has been the greatest of gifts. We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being.”
After earning an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for “Divorce American Style,” Lear created the sitcom “All in the Family,” which was known to be beloved by people of all political persuasions. The show bravely tackled such hot-button issues as racism, abortion, homosexuality, the Vietnam war, and rape. Despite the success of “All In The Family,” however, Lear was hesitant to say that it changed things in the world too much. “I didn’t see it changing television at all,” he once said.
Lear went on to create such hit shows as “Maude,” “One Day at a Time,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Diff’rent Strokes.” Lear also founded the nonprofit liberal advocacy group People for the American Way in 1980.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1922, Lear dropped out of Emerson College in 1942 to enlist in the Air Force, and he then flew 52 combat missions in Europe during World War II. After the war ended, Lear worked in public relations until he began writing comedy for television in the 1950s.
Lear is survived by his third wife Lyn Davis, six children and four grandchildren.
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