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Norman Lear Just Made a Crazy Announcement at 100 Years Old

There is no doubt about it. Norman Lear is a living legend. In fact, he just might be the most influential figure in the world of network television – especially when it comes to sitcoms.

Throughout his 70+ years working as a television and film writer and producer, the New Haven, Connecticut-born centenarian has produced, written, developed, or created more than 100 shows – many of which are considered to be among the best TV offerings of all time.

The peak of his career was arguably in the 1970s when he created such shows as All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, Good Times, and One Day at a Time. But in the decades that have passed since that groundbreaking era, Lear has continued to actively produce television shows, including the Emmy Award-winning remake of One Day at a Time which hit Netflix in 2017, and most recently, the 2022 reboot of Good Times.

Naturally with a resume like that, Lear has been the recipient of countless awards and accolades, including five Emmys and the National Medal of Arts.

Never one to stay silent in the face of injustice, Lear has also devoted much of his life to political activism, advocating and fundraising for progressive causes and politicians. Throughout his body of work, you can clearly see how Lear’s social and political views have influenced his shows.

In shows like Maude, All in the Family, and The Jeffersons, Lear made it a point to tackle hot-button social issues in a manner that was unprecedented on network television. Poignant, albeit often controversial, themes such as abortion, racism, feminism, and substance abuse have frequently been featured in his sitcoms in particular. In that sense, Lear has managed to use his shows as a platform to advocate for social change – and at 100 years old, he continues to stick to his guns without watering down his message.

In this era of social and political polarization, Lear’s approach to countering societal ills has never been more relevant. Join us as we discuss Norman Lear’s recent announcement that’s been creating quite a buzz. We’ll also be taking some time to see what kind of projects he’s been working on lately – because despite being more than a century old, he shows no signs of slowing down.

Norman and Brent Miller Plan On Recreating Maude’s ‘Abortion’ Episode

With Roe V Wade recently being overturned, the abortion debate has never been more intense.Honestly, when has it not been an extremely controversial topic?

Norman Lear, as we’ve already touched on, has never shied away from weighing in on touchy issues such as abortion. Whether you agree with his stance on things or not, you got to give it to the guy for staying true to his beliefs and fighting for his convictions.

With the state of politics these days, there’s never been a better to recreate his famous Maude abortion episode.  The original episode first aired in November of 1972, just two months after Roe V. Wade made abortion legal throughout America.

The two-parter “Maude’s Dilemma” saw the titular character, played by the late Bea Arthur, facing a quandary as to what she should do after discovering that she’s pregnant at the age of 47.  Maude eventually decided, after much internal debate, to have an abortion. At the time, this plot was quite racy. In fact, such a storyline has been remarkably rare on TV in the last half-century despite abortion becoming much more commonplace after Roe became the law of the land.

Lear believes that such a tale needs to be told again, only this time through a modern lens. Talking to Variety in July 2022, Lear questioned what the reaction would be to a retelling of that narrative in the context of today.

Lear acknowledged that there only ever will be one Bea Arthur, but even though she no longer is with us after passing in 2009, he still realizes the importance of Maude’s approach to storytelling. He mentioned as well that he is excited to see what somebody else will make of Arthur’s character.

Lear’s longtime producing partner Brent Miller feels like it’s now time to revisit the episode on ABC’s Live In Front of a Studio Audience event, which alongside producer Jimmy Kimmel previously has  remade classic episodes of Lear’s The Facts of Life, The Jeffersons, Diff’rent Strokes, All In The Family, and Good Times.

Miller was quoted by Variety as saying that he thinks the world is ready for them to give “Maude’s Dilemma” a similar remake treatment.

Miller and Lear first met when Brent joined Sony a little over half a decade ago. Miller was well aware of Lear’s groundbreaking work in the last 50+ years, and the two immediately hit it off after having lunch together. Since then, they have worked on numerous projects together.

Miller summed up his thoughts on Lear by stating that ‘being associated with [Norman] has been a point of immense pride’ for him and the entire studio.

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Norman Thinks Archie Bunker Likely Would Have Been A Trump Voter

All in the Family’s Archie Bunker, portrayed by Carroll O’Connor, was a working-class American icon who was known for being a bigoted yet beloved family man.

Speaking to the New York Times shortly after celebrating his 100th birthday, Lear opined that Archie probably would have been on Team Trump if he were around today.

He went on to express that the January 6th attack on the capital and the House investigation into the former president’s alleged role in it might have elicited a strong reaction by a hypothetically Trump-supporting Archie.

Lear wrote that the ‘sight of the American flag’ being used to assault Capitol Police officers would have sickened the immensely patriotic Bunker. Norman further expressed his hope that the resolve shown by Representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney to expose the truth would have earned Archie’s respect.

This wasn’t the first time, however, that Lear talked about Archie’s relation to Trump. Back in 2017, Norman told the Daily Beast that Trump is shrewd in a way that Bunker never was but that Archie was ‘far wiser in heart’. In Lear’s New York Times piece, he noted that Archie, despite his flaws, deeply loved his country and family, even when he was being called out for his ignorance and bigotry.

Norman Doesn’t Want To Quit Working

Shortly before celebrating his big 100th birthday, Lear attended a health and wellness event presented by CNN called the Life Itself conference. There he addressed the audience by revealing some of his secrets to living as long as he has.

Apparently, the secret sauce that’s helped him reach such a ripe old age consists of a diet of bagels and lox coupled with his love for his family, laughter, and his “invigorating” work.  Lear stated that he loves getting up in the morning always with something on his mind – something he can work on to some conclusion.

Even after reaching 100, an age which most people consider themselves lucky to make it to and typically use as an excuse to kick back and relax in a rocking chair on the front porch, Lear has showed no signs of slowing down. If anyone was ever married to their work, it’s Lear.

At 95, Lear, alongside Jimmy Kimmel, produced and hosted three episodes of the ABC show Live In Front of a Studio Audience. That project was honored with Emmys in 2019 and 2020.

Since then, Lear has been working on reboots of some of his most iconic 1970s sitcoms such as One Day At A Time. With his production partner Brent Miller, Lear has also made several movies.

When pressed to reveal another secret to his longevity, Lear said that his views towards stress have always been unconventional yet tremendously beneficial to his well-being. Even back in the 70s, when he was working on so many different demanding projects, he viewed this period of his life as being full of what he calls ‘joyful stress’.

According to Norman, regardless of how stressful your life can be – especially when you’re immersed in your work – it’s important to accept it joyfully. Just because you’re stressed doesn’t mean you can’t also be having a good time while experiencing levels of deep satisfaction and fulfillment. It’s with this perspective that Lear has managed to lean into the most stressful chapters of his life while still maintaining a positive and grateful attitude.

Norman Currently Is Working On 23 Projects

Lear told PEOPLE that he plans to continue working well beyond his 100th birthday.

He told that the outlet that “Bringing joy to people is what it’s all about”. With an attitude like that, we wouldn’t be surprised if Norman lived for another century. Or at least, if his body doesn’t, his spirit and legacy sure will.

You might think that a man as accomplished as Lear would feel a bit jaded whenever presented with awards and accolades, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

PEOPLE quoted Norman as saying that he still ‘explodes with joy, excitement, interest and delight’ each and every time he drives to the studio.  Entertaining people is in his blood. He probably wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he were forced to retire. So instead of settling down and kicking back on a beach somewhere, his plan is to keep working as long as his health permits him to do so.

At the moment, Lear and Brent Miller have 23 projects in development. A few of these include a reboot of Who’s The Boss starring Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano and a planned Good Times animated series slated to premiere on Netflix in the next year or so.

For someone that has seen and done it all as Norman Lear has, he’s often asked for advice on how to make it in Hollywood, and we think that his answer is just perfect!

“Go with your gut”, Lear says, and ‘listen hard to what [others] are saying about something you think you already know about…When you feel like you have listened hard enough and are still convinced….go with it….Don’t let yourself be talked out of it’.

And with those wise words, we’ll wrap up this video.

Before you go, let us know in the comment which one of Norman Lear’s iconic television series is your favorite.

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As always, thanks for watching. We’ll see you soon with more videos covering some of the most beloved Hollywood insiders, films, and television series.

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