What Shows Did Norman Lear Create? His Greatest  Projects

The remarkable storyteller, activist and philanthropist will turn 100 in 2022. On July 27, 2022, Norman Lear, creator of numerous classic 1970s TV shows, turned the big 1-0. ABC will air a one-night-only tribute to the remarkable storyteller, activist and philanthropist in honor of his landmark birthday and fantastic legacy.

This Thursday, September 22, at 9 p.m. ET, ABC will air a special titled Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter.

What Shows Did Norman Lear Create
What Shows Did Norman Lear Create

As television spread throughout American households in the 1950s, Lear found his footing there as a writer for The Ford Star Revue. He was discovered and hired to pen sketches for Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis–hosted Colgate Comedy Hour. He contributed to various other 1960s and 1970s comedy and variety shows.

Tandem Productions was founded with his help in the late ’50s. In the ’60s, he went on to produce motion pictures, including Divorce, American Style, Start the Revolution Without Me and Cold Turkey. His goal in 1970 was to adapt the British hit show Till Death Us Do Part for American audiences. The show, now commonly known as “All in the Family,” was picked up by CBS-TV.

CBS broadcast the following disclaimer before the premiere of All in the Family on January 12, 1971, due to the show’s mature subject matter and discussion of racial and political issues: It seeks to throw a humorous spotlight on our frailties, prejudices and concerns. The goal is to make them funny to demonstrate how ridiculous they are in an adult way. There was no significant backlash and the show went on for nine more seasons, winning numerous awards after it became a hit in summer reruns.

After that show’s success, Lear created a long list of classic TV shows and won numerous awards for his work in the entertainment industry and philanthropic efforts. Before presenting him with the National Medal of Arts in 1999, President Bill Clinton said of Lear, “Norman Lear has held up a mirror to American society and changed the way we look at it.”

This quote from Lear sums it up quite nicely, I think, why he loved his work. While riding in a plane, Lear looked down and thought, “Hey, it’s just possible, wherever I see the light, I’ve helped somebody laugh.”

I’m pretty sure that’s true.

Well done, Mr. Lear, and thanks for the laughs, movies, and television shows. Many of the most iconic TV themes of all time were featured in plays written by Norman Lear. Listen to and relive some of the best opening credits and theme songs ever.

Norman Lear’s Greatest  Projects

All in the Family Pilot

If you don’t recognize these two people, it’s because they played their daughter Gloria and her husband Richard in the first movie. Fun fact #2: Edith and Archie’s real surname wasn’t “Bunker” but “Justice.” Why? There was some discussion about calling the show “Justice for All.”

All in the Family

Perhaps you’ve heard of this one before. After feedback that the line “Gee, our old LaSalle ran great” was challenging to understand, this clearer later version was created.