It’s a rare but wonderful milestone to see be reached. Norman Lear, the man behind countless comedy shows and sitcoms over the years, celebrated his 100th birthday on July 27th.
Lear has worked in comedy and television for over 70 years. In that time, he has served as producer in 78 projects, and worked in other capacities on many more. Much of his most famous work came out in the 1970s. These include some of the most iconic sitcoms of their time, including All in The Family, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, Maude, One Day at a Time, to name just a few.
Despite now pushing past the centennial mark, Lear continues to work. Aside from producing new shows, he also has his own podcast, All of the Above with Norman Lear.
Lear’s impact on the world of television comedy is enormous. Bill Clinton presented Lear with the National Medal of the Arts back in 1999, the highest honor the United States government has for an artist. He is credited with helping to shape the modern sitcom format and push it forward.
His influence continues to be so large that it sometimes comes up in unexpected places. Lear is close friends with the creators of South Park, and has worked on several episodes with them. Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, is also a collaborator and protégé of Lear. He’s also teamed up with Jimmy Kimmel for Live In Front of a Studio Audience a few times to bring live broadcasts of classic sitcom episodes with modern actors. The duo recently hinted that they’d love to tackle the Maude abortion episode next. Yeah, Lear has been tackling these kinds of social issues for decades now.
Many in the comedy world shared their appreciation for Lear and recognition of his enormous impact. For his part, Lear shared a video from his home in Vermont thanking people for the well wishes, and offering some sage wisdom on the first morning after turning 100.
— Norman Lear (@TheNormanLear) July 28, 2022
With no signs of stopping, Lear is an inspiration not just to comedy fans but also to everyone looking to the years ahead.