TV legend Norman Lear is counting his blessings as he celebrates his 100th birthday with his family in Vermont, but the writer and producer isn’t planning on retiring anytime soon.
The Hollywood heavyweight, who turned 100 on Wednesday, opened up about his milestone birthday and the 23 projects he currently has in the works in a new interview with People magazine.
“I can’t wait to be home in Vermont and celebrate with my whole family – my wonderful wife [Lyn Davis Lear], my six children, my two sons-in-law and my four grandchildren. How lucky am I? he said.
TV legend Norman Lear celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday
Lear told People he will be spending the day at his home in Vermont with his wife Lyn Davis Lear (pictured), six children, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren.
Lear, the creator of classic ’70s sitcoms All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude, Sanford and Son and One Day at a Time, has long pushed the boundaries of the television medium.
During his illustrious career, he has addressed various social issues on his shows, including racism, women’s rights and abortion.
In 2019, he became the oldest person to win an Emmy Award at age 97 for Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons.
He broke his own record the following year when he won another Emmy for Variety Special. However, the six-time Emmy winner considers his greatest achievement to be fatherhood.
“Truth be told, I certainly haven’t done anything more important than father or child,” he told People.
“There is nothing more delightful than becoming a grandfather to a child after fathering a child. I don’t know if there’s anything more romantic in life than all that.
Lear was treated to a huge cake at a birthday celebration held on the grounds of Sony Pictures studios in Culver City, Calif., on July 19.
Lear created the classic 70s sitcoms All in the Family, Maude and The Jeffersons. The writer (centre) is pictured with the cast of All in the Family in 1971
Lear married his first wife, Charlotte Rosen, in 1943, and they welcomed their daughter, Ellen, four years later.
After their divorce in 1956, he married his second wife, Frances Loeb, the same year. He and Loeb had two daughters together, Kate and Maggie, before divorcing in 1985.
Two years later, he married Davis Lear, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and political activist. They have a son, Benjamin, and twin daughters, Brianna and Madelaine.
“My wife is her own person and I fell in love with that person,” he said of Davis Lear, his wife of nearly 35 years. “And over those years, I’ve only learned more about why I should have cared about it in the first place and continued to care about it afterwards. He is an exceptional human being.
More than 60 years into his career, Lear has no intention of slowing down. He has 23 projects in development with his business partner Brent Miller, who is president of his production company Act III.
Lear was awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities in 1999 by President Bill Clinton (pictured)
The Hollywood heavyweight (pictured with Jennifer Aniston) has no plans to retire
Among the shows he works on are Who’s The Boss? reboot with Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano, who will reprise their roles as father and daughter Tony and Samantha Micelli.
“My awards and accolades mean a lot to me, but they don’t mean as much as the ride to the studio today,” he said. “I still explode with joy, excitement, interest and absolute pleasure every time.”
Lear added that he loves “getting up in the morning”, saying, “I always liked it because I always had something to do”. I was born this way, and it’s a great gift. As I speak of it, I accept it as a gift.
In honor of his 100th birthday, he wrote an op-ed about his character Archie Bunker and former President Donald Trump which was published by The New York Times Wednesday.
‘Well, I succeeded. I am 100 years old today. I wake each morning grateful to be alive,” he wrote. “Reaching my personal centenary is cause for reflection on my first century – and what the next century will bring to the people and country I To be honest, I’m a little worried about being in better shape than our democracy.
In 2019 Lear (pictured with Jimmy Kimmel) became the oldest person to win an Emmy at 97 for Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons
Lear (pictured with Dave Chappell at Netflix is a Joke Presents in May) has 23 projects in the works, including Who’s the Boss? to restart
Lear shared that he was “deeply troubled” by the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 and “how far Mr. Trump was willing to go to stay in power after being rejected by voters.”
He noted that he “did not take the threat of authoritarianism lightly,” recalling how he dropped out of college after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and joined the United States Air Force.
“I am a staunch supporter of truth, justice and the American way, and I fail to understand how so many people who call themselves patriots can support efforts to undermine our democracy and our Constitution. It is alarming,” he said.
Lear, who is known for his political activism and support for progressive causes, praised “the handful of conservative Republican lawmakers, lawyers, and former White House staffers who stood up to the bullying of Mr. Trump”.
The TV writer reflected on how Archie Bunker would discuss with his family ‘racism, feminism, homosexuality, the Vietnam War and Watergate’ on All in the Family – many of the issues that still make hotly debated today.
In honor of his 100th birthday, Lear wrote an op-ed on Archie Bunker and former President Donald Trump which was published by The New York Times.
Lear wrote that his All in the Family character Archie Bunker (left) would likely have voted for former President Donald Trump (right), but added that he believes the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 2021 would have “made him sick”.
“For all his faults, Archie loved his country and he loved his family, even when they called him out for his ignorance and bigotry,” he explained.
“If Archie had been around 50 years later, he probably would have been watching Fox News. He probably would have been a Trump voter. But I think the sight of the American flag being used to attack the Capitol police would have made him sick.
“I hope the determination shown by Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and their commitment to exposing the truth, would have earned his respect.”
Lear, who co-founded the progressive group People for the American Way, shared that although he often feels “disheartened by the direction our policies, our courts” and our culture are taking, he continues to have faith in our country and its future.
“Reaching this anniversary with my health and spirit nearly intact is a privilege. Approaching it with loving family, friends and creative collaborators to share in my days has filled me with a gratitude that I can hardly express,’ he concluded in his op-ed.
“It is our century, dear reader, yours and mine. Let’s encourage each other with visions of a shared future. And let’s bring all the courage, openness and creative spirit we can muster to come together and build that future.