Norman Lear Dead at 101

( – Norman Lear, a giant in the world of comedy, has died at the age of 101, a spokeswoman for the family confirmed on Wednesday December 6. Lear, born in Connecticut on July 27, 1922, served in the Army Air Force during World War II, and was said to have flown on more than 50 missions during his service. After his time in the military, he took a job working in a publicity firm before being fired after a year for inventing too many untrue stories.

He would later put his interest in storytelling to more productive use, creating comedy routines with his friend and fellow travelling salesman Ed Simmons. The pair gained work writing for the likes of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and Lear’s career in entertainment grew from there. In 1967, he wrote the film “Divorce American Style”, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. Through the 1970’s and onwards, he wrote and produced a string of successful television shows, including “The Jeffersons” and “All in the Family”.

Lear’s writing was known for tackling a multitude of social and political issues from a humorous angle, with topics such as racial discrimination, poverty, and even abortion covered across his shows. His famous “All in the Family” patriarch, Archie Bunker, was a brusque but likeable conservative father who often ended up arguing with his liberal son-in-law about various social issues. Bunker was a Protestant Christian, but Lear admitted to basing him in part on his own father, a Jewish man named Hyman Lear who was arrested for selling counterfeit bonds when Norman was just nine years old.

Norman Lear was known for his liberal views and founded “People for the American Way”, a liberal advocacy group. Speaking after his death, his family said that he was passionate about equality and justice, who enjoyed writing about real American lives, rather than a glossed over or idealized version. Lear is survived by his third wife, Lyn Davis, as well as his six children and four grandchildren.

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