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Lear, Norman


LEAR, NORMAN (1922– ), U.S. writer, producer, director of tv and films. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Lear served in the U.S. Air Force during World War ii (1941–45). At the war's end, he was decorated with the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters. Lear began his career in films, producing and writing such motion pictures as Come Blow Your Horn (1963), Divorce, American Style (Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, 1967), and The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968).

He then turned to developing and creating groundbreaking television shows, beginning with the sitcom All in the Family (1971–79), which became the no. 1-rated tv show. It was followed by Sanford & Son (1972–77); Maude (1972–78); Good Times (1974–79); The Jeffersons (1975–85); Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976–78); One Day at a Time (1975–84); Fernwood 2Nite (1977–78); Apple Pie (1978); Diff'rent Strokes (1978–86); and Archie Bunker's Place (1979–83).

Lear has also been the producer of feature films, such as Never Too Late (1965), Start the Revolution without Me (1970), Cold Turkey (1971), The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973), Stand by Me (1986), The Princess Bride (1987), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), and Way Past Cool (2000).

Among his many honors and awards, Lear was named Man of the Year in 1973 by the Hollywood chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He received four Emmy Awards for All In the Family (1970–73) and a Peabody Award (1978); he was nominated for 11 other Emmys. In 1987 he received the Creative Achievement Award from the American Comedy Awards. In 1984 he received the Distinguished American Award and was among the first inductees to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. He received the Mass Media Award from the American Jewish Committee of Institutional Executives in 1987.

Lear was president of the American Civil Liberties Foundation from 1973. In 1980 he founded People for the American Way, a Washington advocacy group that lobbies for constitutional rights and liberties. He was also a member of the advisory board to the National Women's Political Caucus. In 2000 he founded the Norman Lear Center at usc's Annenberg School of Communications, which offers multidisciplinary study of entertainment to stimulate new ways of approaching its content and evaluating its impact. Lear's book God, Man, and Archie Bunker, coauthored with Spencer Marsh, was published in 1975.


G. Cowan, See No Evil: The Backstage Battle over Sex and Violence on Television (1979).

[Jonathan Licht /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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