Lear, Norman

Lear, Norman, 1922–, American television and film producer, director, and writer, b. New Haven, Conn. He wrote for comedians and television shows during the 1950s, and subsequently wrote and directed such films as Come Blow Your Horn (1963) and Cold Turkey (1971). Returning to television, he created, produced, and wrote All in the Family (1972–79), a show that revolutionized situation comedies with its main character, the bigoted but lovable Archie Bunker, and with story lines that tackled a variety of controversial subjects. The show topped the ratings for five years, won Lear four Emmys, and generated two spin-offs, the similarly controversial Maude (1972–78) and The Jeffersons (1975–85). He also produced other television shows, such as the comedy Sanford and Son (1972–77) and the soap opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976–77), and later produced several films, e.g., Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and a documentary on Pete Seeger (2007). A political progressive, Lear was (1981) a founder of the liberal organization People for the American Way.

See his memoir Even This I Get to Experience (2014) S. Campbell, The Sitcoms of Norman Lear (2006).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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