Famed TV Producer Norman Lear Dies at 101

(StraightNews.org) – TV producer Norman Lear, who created over 100 shows in his long career, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 101. The political activist’s television career took off in 1971 with the hit sitcom “All in the Family,” before he went on to produce the comedies “Maude,” “Sanford and Son,” “One Day at a Time,” and “The Jeffersons.”

Lear was later nominated for an Academy Award for his work on “Divorce American Style” and was executive producer of “The Princess Bride” and “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café,” starring Kathy Bates.

Born in Connecticut in 1922 to Russian-Jewish parents, he enlisted in the US Army Air Forces at 20 and fought in the Second World War in Germany. After the war, he started a career in public relations in Los Angeles, fell in love with show business, and broke into comedy in the 1950s. His entertainment career took off with a writing role for a CBS sitcom in 1954, and he worked with the production team on his first show, The Deputy, starring Henry Fonda, in 1959.

In 1981, having supported liberal causes for some years, Mr. Lear founded the People for the American Way (PFAW) – an organization that opposed religious influence in politics. Throughout his political life, he clashed with prominent Christians, including Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Jimmy Swaggart, who accused him of anti-Christian bias. He rejected this and said he formed the organization because he believed people like Robertson and Falwell were “abusing religion.”

The legendary producer married three times, first to Charlotte Rosen in 1943, but that marriage ended in divorce in 1956. He married Frances Loeb the same year and divorced again in 1983 before meeting his third wife, Lyn Davis, in 1971. He had six children.

News of his death was met with warm tributes from stars including Ben Stiller, Jon Stewart, and Rob Reiner. Reiner tweeted, “I loved Norman Lear with all my heart. He was my second father.”

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