Norman Lear

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Norman Lear is an American television and film writer and producer, who has won numerous awards for his creative work, such as "All in the Family", "Maude", "Sanford and Son", "The Jeffersons", "One Day at a Time", "Good Times", and "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman". In 1980, he left television to form People for the American Way, an organization intended to counterbalance the growing role of religious conservatism in American politics.

He started writing for television in 1950. In 1958, He 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, and the firm produced a series of hits that followed.


He was involved in the start of People for the American Way. In 1982, he produced a two-hour television special I Love Liberty, with a cast of stars and an audience filling the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

People for the American Way, he said, was created spontaneously.

The ministers agree with this guy, but his family—who he knows are good Christians, with his wife the best in the family—are in disagreement. So, he winds up saying, "So, don't tell me, even if you are a minister, that we are good Christians or bad Christians depending on our political point of view. That's not the American way."

I did that in a fit of passion and then I looked at it and I said, "Oh God, Norman, you have three strikes against you: you're a product of the Hollywood community, you're wealthy, and you're Jewish. And you're coming after the Moral Majority, the religious right." I had a nodding acquaintance with Father Theodore Hesburgh at Notre Dame, and I showed it to him. He thought it was wonderful and he sent me to some other mainline church leaders, and they all said, "You're coming from the right place." And they signed on. [1]

Social conservatives responded negatively both to his shows and his broader activism. Pat Robertson said "Norman Lear is an atheist. And he doesn't believe in any religious values in our life. [he and his supporters] want radical feminism, they want abortion on demand, they want casual sex, they want all those things...[they] want a collectivist view of society."."[2]

In 1982, he created a television special called "I love liberty". Cal Thomas, vice president of communications for the Moral Majority, said People for the American Way is using I Love Liberty as a tool to increase its membership. "If People for the American Way wants to buy air time, fine...Our problem is they're getting free time. It's an abuse of the airwaves and the power ABC has...Imagine the outcry if ABC had given Jerry Falwell a million dollars and the same amount of air time to produce a show called 'I Love Liberty' - with guest stars like Charlton Heston and Senator Jesse Helms. Norman Lear and Ed Asner and their ilk would be screaming to high heaven."[3]

He has questioned the continuation of an Office of Faith-Based Programs in the Obama Administration.[1]


His business career continued in 1984 when he and his business partners created T.A.T. Communications, later known as Embassy Communications, which was sold in 1985. He is chairman of Act III Communications, a multimedia holding company with interests in the recording, motion picture, broadcasting, publishing, and licensing industries, including Concord Music Group and Village Roadshow Pictures Group.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Interview: Anti-Christian-Right Crusader Norman Lear on Becoming a 'Born-Again American'", U.S. News and World Report, February 10, 2009
  2. David Robinson (6 September 1986), "Robertson brands TV producer Lear an atheist", United Press International
  3. Richard Zoglin (21 March 1982), "Is this entertainment special promoting a special interest?", New York Times