Norman Lear: The Mensch

Dave Pell, writing at NextDraft about Norman Lear, who died at the ripe age of 101:

From his tours of duty during WWII to his sensational, culture changing television creations, to his political activism, to the good, decent, kind life he lived, Norman Lear represented the greatest of the greatest generation. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Norman. Yes, he was a comedic genius and maybe television’s most important creator, but he was also a deeply interested, open, curious, people person. He was great, and also good. He truly lived the lyrics of the theme for his show One Day at a Time. This is it. This is life, the one you get, so go and have a ball.

What a career. He didn’t just create some of the best sitcoms on TV during his prime, he created most of the best sitcoms: Sanford & Son (my dad’s favorite), One Day at a Time, Maude, Good Times, Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, The Jeffersons, and, of course, his masterpiece, All in the Family.

Over at BoingBoing, Mark Frauenfelder has a 50-year-old All in the Family clip that, aside from Rob Reiner’s hairstyle, could have been recorded today. Archie Bunker was a more coherent Trump than Trump.

(With Charlie Munger dying at 99, Henry Kissinger at 100, and now Lear at 101, I’d be nervous if I were a famous 102-year-old.)

Update: A delightful anecdote from Alex Edelman, about Lear pitching him an idea for a new show at age 100.

Thursday, 7 December 2023