• Isaac Simon

Birthday of Norman Lear, 1922

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History, July 27th, 1922

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDJrCbTl53Y/

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Iconic TV writer and producer, Norman Lear was born #onthisday. Happy 97th birthday Norman!

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From 1971 to 1976, more Americans watched Lear's All in the Family than any other weekly series program. The show moved television comedy into a new era of political awareness.

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Born in New Haven, CT and raised in a Jewish home. Lear left college after two years to join the Air Force during WWII. Like many Jewish-Americans, Lear distinguished himself in combat, flying over fifty missions in Europe. Upon his discharge in 1945, he was awarded the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

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Lear’s big break came in the early 50s when he teamed with Ed Simmons to write for the radio show of comedy team "Martin and Lewis", then the most popular show business. The show was saved with the hiring of Lear and Simmons. The writing team would go on to supply scripts for when they became regular hosts at The Colgate Comedy Hour, one of the landmarks of early television.

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In the 60's and 70's, Lear directed two feature film comedies starring Dick Van Dyke. Yet, his signature contribution to American culture remains "All in the Family". For a half hour every Tuesday, the comic portrayal of the Bunker family touched on every major political issue of the day—racism, sexism, the Vietnam War, urban violence, antisemitism—with the bigoted father, Archie, often at the center of the satire.

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Archie Bunker combined ignorance and prejudice and yet was written with humanity. He represented millions of citizens battling against the dynamic changes taking place within their families and their country. The show spun off a number of hit shows also produced by Lear.

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Lear then dedicated himself to liberal causes, primarily through the founding of People for the American Way. Lear’s political activism is of a piece with the politics that informed his best work in television—a critique of intolerance, a celebration of free speech, a voice for minorities. He stands with the comic giants of Jewish American culture—who shaped the direction of television over its first quarter century.

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#judaism#jewish#history#hbd#icon#normanlear#comedy#jewishhumor


Image Source:

https://twitter.com/thenormanlear

Text Source:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Norman-Lear


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