Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film, and as a political and social activist and philanthropist.
Mr. Lear began his television writing career in 1950 when he and his partner, Ed Simmons, were signed to write for The Ford Star Revue, starring Jack Haley. After only four shows, they were hired away by Jerry Lewis to write for the Martin and Lewis Colgate Comedy Hour, which they continued to write until 1953. Mr. Lear then began writing on his own for comedy shows including The Martha Raye Show, The George Gobel Show, and The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show.
In 1958, Mr. Lear teamed with director Bud Yorkin to form Tandem Productions. Together they produced several feature films, with Mr. Lear taking on roles as executive producer, writer, and director. He was nominated in 1967 for an Academy Award for his script for Divorce American Style. In 1970, CBS signed with Tandem to produce All in the Family, which first aired on January 12, 1971 and ran for nine seasons. It earned four Emmy Awards for Best Comedy series as well as the Peabody Award in 1977. All in the Family was followed by a succession of other television hit shows including Maude, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, Good Times, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
In 1999, President Clinton bestowed the National Medal of Arts on Mr. Lear, noting that “Norman Lear has held up a mirror to American society and changed the way we look at it.” He has the distinction of being among the first seven television pioneers inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame (1984). In addition to his awards for All in the Family, he has been honored by the International Platform Association (1977), the Writers Guild of America (1977) and many other professional and civic organizations
Mr. Lear is married to Lyn Davis Lear and resides in Los Angeles, California. He has six children and four grandchildren.