Sunday, May 19, 2024

RIP Norman Lear, TV Legend, Changed the Culture, Proud Promoter of Liberal Causes, Dies at 101


Norman Lear has died at 101. It turns out now matter how good you are, you can’t live forever.

Norman was a TV legend, a producer and writer who changed the culture with his shows like “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” and “One Day at a Time.”

He was also a proud campaigner for the best liberal causes, a mensch who supported everything good in the world starting with the arts. He won every award possible. As a fourth act to his extraordinary life, Lear exemplified the nobility of aging.

This picture was taken five or six years ago up at the Ross House in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. Norman and I reminisced about an early chance meeting, a couple of years earlier, when we ran into each other in front of the Shubert Theater on Broadway. It was about ten minutes before a matinee curtain, and he was waiting outside for a guest. I was concerned that a 93 year old man was by himself. He laughed heartily. He certainly wasn’t 93 in his head!

A few weeks ago I ran into a family member who told me that Norman was not exactly in decline but had slowed down considerably. What can you say for someone who’s 101 and has lived the most incredible life? God speed.

CBS should just turn over a whole night to Norman Lear this week, run one episode of each show from 8pm to 11pm.

“Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather,” Lear’s family said in a statement. “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.”

photo c2023 Showbiz411 by Leah Sydney

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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