Norman Lear, Creator Of ‘Sanford And Son’, ‘The Jeffersons’ And More, Dead At 101

Norman Lear, the comedy genius behind several groundbreaking sitcoms, has died at the age of 101.

According to a statement issued to Variety by the icon’s publicist, the TV legend died Tuesday (Dec. 5) at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes. A private memorial service will be held for immediate family in the coming days.

“Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather,” Lear’s family said in a statement. “Norman lived a life of creativity, tenacity, and empathy. He deeply loved our country and spent a lifetime helping to preserve its founding ideals of justice and equality for all. Knowing and loving him has been the greatest of gifts. We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being.”

Lear changed television comedy in the 1970s with the introduction of shows such as All in the Family, Diff’rent Strokes, The Jeffersons, Maude, Sanford And Son, and others, all of which tackled hard-hitting issues ranging from racism and classism to abortion and the LGBTQ community. All in the Family itself spawned no less than six spin-offs, including The Jeffersons and Good Times.

“Originally, with all the shows, we went looking for belly laughs,” Lesr explained to The A.V. Club in 2005. “It crossed our minds early on that the more an audience cared – we were working before, on average, 240 live people – if you could get them caring, the more they cared, the harder they laughed.”
The comedy writer and producer was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2017 and has been recognized by the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame, the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. He also received the National Medal of Arts in 1999.

Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson took to X’Twitter to remember him as “My Goat. What a life. Rest well, Norman Lear.”

Actor John Leguizamo also used the platform to remember the icon, sharing, “R.i.p. Norman Lear. A master of story telling and a healer through his shows! He is what all of showbiz should be aspiring to. He is the consummate creative producer we have long abandoned in the industry.”

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