(NewsReady.com) – It’s hard to imagine anyone who had the impact Norman Lear had on comedy television. The 101-year-old writer and producer was a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame and a five-time Emmy Award winner. Sadly, the country is now mourning his death.
Lara Bergthold, a spokeswoman for his family, confirmed Lear’s death. He passed away in his Los Angeles, California, home on December 5. His family released a statement saying he was “the greatest of gifts.” They thanked his fans for their “moving outpouring of love and support in honor of [their] wonderful husband, father, and grandfather.”
Lear ruled the television world in the 1970s and early 1980s. Bob Hope once said, “We can all be proud of TV and its owner, Norman Lear.”
The producer and writer used situational comedy to bring important issues to viewers. He brought the iconic shows “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” to television. Both were about black families in America. “Good Times” dealt with issues like feminism, poverty, racism, and discrimination. While “The Jeffersons” showed the struggles of a black family who was upwardly mobile.
Lear also created the show “All in the Family” about bigot Archie Bunker, a character the producer said he molded after his own father. The show illustrated what it was like when two family members of different political persuasions came together. In that case, Bunker often clashed with his liberal son-in-law, and those disagreements brought important social and political issues to the forefront of conversations. Throughout the show, Bunker grew and became more accepting.
Tributes to Lear poured in from across the entertainment industry. Former Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams penned a heartfelt tribute to him on Instagram, thanking Lear for his contributions to society. The actor said his friend was “a gentle man of action who carved trails in culture and consciousness early and often.” Jane Fonda said he “changed the face and soul of American comedy.” George Clooney said even at “101 years old, Norman Lear is gone too soon,” calling him the world of reason’s “greatest advocate.”
All major broadcast networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, The CW, and Fox) ran a special title card at 8 p.m. on December 6 to honor Lear.
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