94, veteran TV producer Norman Lear reflects on career
in new film
Send a link to a friend
[October 13, 2016]
By Alicia Powell
NEW YORK (Reuters) -
Starting with the goal of simply earning a living and
supporting his family, Norman Lear became one of the
most influential U.S. television producers and at the
age of 94, he has no intention of slowing down.
After more than six decades in the business creating
situation comedies such as "All in the Family," Lear talks about
the highlights of his career and personal life in the new
documentary, "American Masters - Norman Lear: Just Another
Version of You," airing on Oct. 25 on PBS and available the same
day on DVD.
Lear starts his mornings with stretching exercises and is still
flexing his funny bone by continuing to create entertainment,
most recently revamping his 1970s show "One Day at a Time" with
a Cuban-American family for Netflix starring Rita Moreno.
Lear was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1922 and the
90-minute film chronicles his stint in the U.S. Army Air Force
during World War Two.
"I would watch hundreds of bombs dropping and wonder, what if
one missed a target and hit a home. And I remember thinking,
screw them I don't care," Lear told Reuters.
He added that the experience taught him that "in our common
humanity we are all capable of the worst of anybody else's
behavior and the most transcendent also. We as human beings have
the capacity for both."
After the war and with a growing family, Lear moved to Los
Angeles and entered the world of show business by writing comedy
sketches for television with a relative, saying it was the best
way to make a living.
[to top of second column]
"It's hard to believe that that was the motivation at the time...
but that was what it was about."
He created numerous sitcoms in the 1970s and 80s, including "All in
the Family," which won him four Emmy awards, "Maude," "The
Jeffersons" and "Good Times."
Using humor, Lear was able to explore social and political topics
considered taboo at the time like abortion, homosexuality and
Archie Bunker, the bigoted curmudgeon patriarch of the blue-collar
Bunker family in "All in the Family," one of Lear's most iconic
characters, has been compared to U.S. Republican presidential
nominee Donald Trump by critics in recent months.
Lear said he understood why people were drawing links between the
two men, but said the fictional Bunker "had a heart and a soul."
"He would have been a better president then the fellow that's
running now," Lear said with a laugh.
(Reporting by Alicia Powell in New York; Editing by Bill Rigby)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.