July 27, 2022

LISTEN· 2:21

Known for popular sitcoms such as All in the Family and The Jeffersons, Lear has no intention of slowing down. He will be executive producing the remake of his series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.


In the ’70s, sitcoms like “All In The Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” dominated the airwaves. Yes, they were funny, but they also dared to do what no other show did at the time – address polarizing social issues, gun rights, abortion, racism. It was all on the table.


SHERMAN HEMSLEY: (As George Jefferson) See, that’s the trouble with you people. You always think…

CARROLL O’CONNOR: (As Archie Bunker) Hold it, hold it, hold it. Who are you calling you people? You people are you people.

FADEL: Those shows all came from the mind of legendary producer Norman Lear.


Today, he turns 100. Lear’s career as a showrunner got off to a rocky start. It took him three years to get “All In The Family” on the air. He was asked where he got the confidence to keep pushing for the show.

NORMAN LEAR: Can you say beats the [expletive] out of me on NPR?

FADEL: The first season didn’t perform well, but it became the most-watched show on television and spawned seven different spinoffs. And Lear stayed busy. He produced almost 20 more shows in the ’80s and ’90s.

MARTINEZ: And just a few years ago, he earned a few more Emmy nominations for the re-imagination of his show from the ’70s, “One Day At A Time.” The updated version stars Rita Moreno as the matriarch of a Cuban American family.


RITA MORENO: (As Lydia Riera) You are throwing away your Cuban heritage.

ISABELLA GOMEZ: (As Elena Alvarez) Yeah, the bad part. I don’t want to be paraded around in front of the men of the village like a piece of property to be traded for two cows and a goat.

MORENO: (As Lydia Riera) Someone thinks they’re worth a lot.

FADEL: A century in, Lear has no intention of slowing down. Last year, TBS announced it would be remaking Lear’s syndicated series “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” which he is set to executive produce.

MARTINEZ: For all his past success, Lear is more interested in the present.

LEAR: You know, two little words we don’t pay enough attention to – over and next. When something is over, it is over and we are on to next. And I like to think about the hammock in the middle of those two words. That’s living in the moment. That’s the moment I believe I’m living as I complete this sentence, and it couldn’t be more important to me.

MARTINEZ: Happy birthday, Norman Lear. How about you give us another hundred years?



On My 100th Birthday, Reflections on Archie Bunker and Donald Trump ~ NYT

Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie Bunker, in 1971.
Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie Bunker, in 1971.Credit…CBS, via Getty Images

By Norman Lear

Mr. Lear, a father of six, is an Emmy-winning television producer and a co-founder of the advocacy organization People for the American Way.

Well, I made it. I am 100 years old today. I wake up every morning grateful to be alive.

Reaching my own personal centennial is cause for a bit of reflection on my first century — and on what the next century will bring for the people and country I love. To be honest, I’m a bit worried that I may be in better shape than our democracy is.

I was deeply troubled by the attack on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021 — by supporters of former President Donald Trump attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. Those concerns have only grown with every revelation about just how far Mr. Trump was willing to go to stay in office after being rejected by voters — and about his ongoing efforts to install loyalists in positions with the power to sway future elections.

I don’t take the threat of authoritarianism lightly. As a young man, I dropped out of college when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and joined the U.S. Army Air Forces. I flew more than 50 missions in a B-17 bomber to defeat fascism consuming Europe. I am a flag-waving believer in truth, justice and the American way, and I don’t understand how so many people who call themselves patriots can support efforts to undermine our democracy and our Constitution. It is alarming.

At the same time, I have been moved by the courage of the handful of conservative Republican lawmakers, lawyers and former White House staffers who resisted Mr. Trump’s bullying. They give me hope that Americans can find unexpected common ground with friends and family whose politics differ but who are not willing to sacrifice core democratic principles.

Encouraging that kind of conversation was a goal of mine when we began broadcasting “All in the Family” in 1971. The kinds of topics Archie Bunker and his family argued about — issues that were dividing Americans from one another, such as racism, feminism, homosexuality, the Vietnam War and Watergate — were certainly being talked about in homes and families. They just weren’t being acknowledged on television.

For all his faults, Archie loved his country and he loved his family, even when they called him out on his ignorance and bigotries. If Archie had been around 50 years later, he probably would have watched Fox News. He probably would have been a Trump voter. But I think that the sight of the American flag being used to attack Capitol Police would have sickened him. I hope that the resolve shown by Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and their commitment to exposing the truth, would have won his respect.

Norman Lear in 2021.Credit…Amy Sussman/Getty Images



Norman Lear turns 100 and shares the meaning of life ~ The Washington post

The tributes pour in as the legendary TV producer and activist celebrates a century on Wednesday

By Travis M. Andrews

July 27, 2022 at 1:06 p.m. EDT

Norman Lear onstage at a 2019 awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SAG-AFTRA Foundation)


What is left to ask Norman Lear?

The living legend of television has spent his life doling out lessons, so when granted the opportunity to converse with him via email ahead of his 100th birthday, what was there to ask?

Does he know the meaning of life? “Yes, the meaning of life can be expressed in one word: tomorrow.” What pieces of advice does he have that stand out above the rest? “There are two little words we don’t pay enough attention to: over and next. When something is over, it is over and we are on to next. Between those words, we live in the moment, make the most of them.” Does he consider a hot dog to be a sandwich? “I consider a hot dog to be a personal delight.”

His birthday is Wednesday. He planned to spend it in Vermont “at what I call our Yiddish Hyannis Port with all my kids and grandkids. At the moment, I feel like I could do a second 100.” ABC will honor Lear on Sept. 22, with what it promises will be a “star-studded” special titled, “Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter.”

A second 100 would certainly be welcome. At the very least, as actress Rita Moreno suggests, when asked this week to talk about Lear’s milestone birthday, “I wish there was a way that they could make copies of him. Wouldn’t that be marvelous? … What a super, super addition to the human race he is.”

Norman Lear put his foot down — and Trump’s White House flinched

Or, as his longtime friend Mel Brooks put it, via email: “Norman has so much to give us, I don’t think 100 is nearly enough.”

By all accounts, he is one of the most important figures in modern pop culture — so much so that by now, you probably already know everything you should about Norman Lear.

You probably know of his tremendously prolific spell creating and producing some of the most vital TV sitcoms in the 1970s such as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at a Time” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” And you’re probably familiar with the fact that he and his colleagues received praise for addressing hot-button issues in those shows, including racism and abortion, using humor and the humanity of his characters to expose and explore what he considered the “the foolishness of the human condition.” Not to mention the fact, as Moreno points out, that he would often have the very targets of his criticism “laughing their asses off.”



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