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The Shocking Truth About Norman Lear

Norman Lear is a TV Icon like none other. Even ff you’ve for some reason never heard of the guy, you’ve certainly heard of his work. He helped create some of the most influential sitcoms of all time. All In The Family, One Day At A Time, Maude, Sanford and Son….the list goes on and on.

Another show that Lear created, The Jeffersons, gave us one of the catchiest theme songs in television history! Lear also produced the beloved 1987 fantasy film The Princess Bride, which was directed by his good friend and fellow Hollywood legend, Rob Reiner. Lear also had his hands in the production of films like Friend Green Tomatoes and Way Past Cool.

But seriously, go check out his credits on IMDB. Let’s just say that calling his contributions extensive is a bit of an understatement. This guy doesn’t stop working and it seems like everything that he touches – with some rare exceptions – turns to gold. Even now at 98 he’s still going strong, but we’ll catch up with what he’s been up to recently in just a minute.

This is the untold – and somewhat shocking – story of Norman Lear, one of Television’s most prolific visionaries.

He Holds An Emmy Record 

You might be wondering how Lear managed to get to the top of the Hollywood ladder. Well, that’s not the easiest question to answer, but one thing that we are sure of is that it wasn’t because of his family connections. His dad worked as a securities broker and ended up going to jail for selling fake bonds when Norman was just a boy.

Lear was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1922. He served in World War II as a gunner and radio operater before finding his way to New York City in 1945. There, he worked as a publicist for a measly $40 a week. But this wasn’t what he really wanted to be doing with his life so in 1949 he packed his bags and moved to California to look for work as a comedy writer.


He wasn’t about to live out his life slaving away for a meager wage without chasing his dreams. He knew that we all have just one life to live so he a was determined to make his count. Fortunately, his perseverance paid off.

In 1950 he was hired on as a writer for the comedy variety program Ford Star Revue with Jack Haley. Shortly thereafter he scored another gig writing for the comedy anthology series The Colgate Comedy Hour.

Norman Lear’s career has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. After he made it, he never stopped working. It’s been his relentless tenacity that has helped established himself as one of the most influential names in American television history.

In 2019, at 97, he became the oldest person to be nominated for and to win an Emmy Award for the category of Outstanding Variety Special for Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In The Family’ And ‘The Jeffersons.’. Lear then broke his own record at the age of 98 when he won the same award for Live In Front of Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times’.

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And keep watching to find out how Lyn Lear, Norman’s current wife, has been one of the most inspiring figures in his wife. Their love story is one worth taking notes from.

Norman Lear’s Book And Podcast

His talents aren’t limited exclusively to the realms of TV and Movies. He’s also written a memoir titled Even This I Get To Experience which was published by Penguin Books in 2014.

The title of the book comes from a chapter in his life where he fell on some financially troubling times despite the fact that he had experienced substantial success career-wise. At one point he thought that he might even have to sell his home.

Having heard that he had fallen on hard times, his son-in-law called him up and asked how he was feeling.

“My answer was, ‘Terrible of course’.” Lear wrote then continued,

“But I must be crazy because despite all that’s happened, I keep hearing this inner voice saying ‘Even this I get to experience”.

In 2017 Lear launched his podcast All of the Above with Norman Lear which has hosted guests like Amy Poehler, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, and Antonio Banderas.

He’s “One Selfish Cat”

Norman Lear has been married three times. He married his first wife Charlotte Rosen in 1943. They welcomed one child into the world together, a daughter named Ellen. In fact, both Ellen and Charlotte were by Norman’s side when he made that fateful move from New York to California in 1949 to pursue his dream of writing comedy.

Lear married his second wife, Frances Loeb, in 1956 and they ended up having two daughters together, Maggie and Kate. After 29 years of marriage, the couple divorced in 1985. Frances Loeb made headlines for her eye-watering $100 million settlement which according to the Chicago Tribune was one of the largest settlements at the time.

But even after taking such a huge loss, Lear’s net worth today is still estimated to be upwards of $200 million.

Lear married his third wife, Lyn Davis in 1987. They ended up having three children together, Brianna, Benjamin, and Madeleine. As of 2021, they are still happily married after more than 30 years of matrimony.

Lyn has called Lear ‘one of the last of the real romantics’. She’s also shared that even after all these years, they still start off their mornings with a kiss as soon as they wake up.

Lear is equally full of praise for his wife.

When recently asked what he thinks about his other-half he gloated, “I love the way she loves me. I’m just one selfish cat!”

Lyn Lear: A Woman Of Many Hats

Like her husband, Lyn is an accomplished filmmaker and activist. She has produced a myriad of poignant documentaries on such diverse topics as climate change, Investigative journalism and modern developments in technology and medicine.

Her 2019 film, The Great Hack, which explored social medias role in the 2016 election was nominated for an Emmy. Lear also sits on the board of directors of numerous organizations that she strongly believes in such as The LA County Museum of Art, the Norman Lear Center, and the National Academy of Medicine’s Healthy Longevity Advisory Council.

Lyn also has a PH. D. in Clinical Psychology and a license in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Despite the fact that Lyn and Norman have both enjoyed wildly successful careers complete with hectic schedules, their marriage appears to have been fortified by their family-first philosophy.

Norman told Business Insider back in 2016 that he thinks he and his wife have done a really good job, but he pointed out that having a happy and healthy family life requires constant care and maintenance.

“Success is a moment by moment thing” he shared.

That’s a sentiment that Lyn Lear obviously shares as well.

Norman’s Political Opinions Have Made Him Some Enemies

Norman Lear has always been unapologetically opinionated. It’s fairly clear that he cares deeply about the world he lives in. And even though his work has primarily focused around Hollywood, his political views have earned him his fair share of enemies.

In 1980 after watching all of Reverend Jerry Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour, Lear decided to abruptly stop filming the movie he was working on and quickly produced a 60 second commercial on religious intolerance instead.

This chapter led to Lear forming the People for the American Way in 1981 with the help of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. The purpose of the group was to reduce national division by increasing communication among different and opposing groups groups throughout society. Lear advocated for secularism and firmly believed that religion had no place in politics.

Jerry Falwell responded to Lear’s actions by declaring him an enemy of the American Family. Falwell accused him of being anti-Christian and harboring a vendetta against those preach the gospel.

Lear didn’t let such baseless accusations get to him however as a practicing Jew he knew that no one that really knew him could ever call him anti-religious. In a scathing reply to Falwell’s unsubstantiated claims, he called the televangelist out for what he perceived as blatant antisemitism.

Lear Does Whatever He Pleases

It really should come as no surprise to anyone but Norman Lear has always lived his life as freely as he his circumstances have allowed. Over the years, he’s developed a wide array of interests.

Lear is actually a very close friend with South Park’s co-creator, Trey Parker. He even officiated his wedding to Emma Sugiyama back in 2006. Lear even lent his own voice to South Park back in 2003 when he voiced Benjamin Franklin in the episode ‘I’m a Little Bit Country’.

Lear is also known for his outspoken views towards different US presidents. In 1999, he was awarded the presidential Medal of Arts by then-president Bill Clinton but in 2017 he refused to attend the White House reception for the Kennedy Center honorees in protest of President Donald J. Trump whom he accused of deliberately neglecting the Arts and Humanities by deliberately defunding them.

Lear was also critical of President George W. Bush. Specifically he was opposed to Bush’s Iraq war. The only non-Democrat that he voted for was John Anderson in 1980 because he considered the Carter administration to be incompetent.

After the One Day At A Time reboot was canceled in 2020, it’s unclear what Norman is up to currently but judging by his track record, we’re pretty sure that he’s got something special in the works. Seriously though, this guy never stops. He’s like the the energizer bunny of iconic sitcom producers.

But here we are, once again at the end of another facts-packed video. You know what that means. Now’s the time for you for you to shine. Drop us a line in the comments section with your favorite Norman Lear sitcom. Are you a fan of All In The Family or were The Jeffersons more of your cup of tea?

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