Notes from Evan Smith
"Norman Lear, probably best known as the creator of the groundbreaking television series All in the Family, is an accomplished screenwriter, producer, and director, as well as a political and social activist and philanthropist.
Lear began his career in the early 1950s as a comedy writer. In 1959, Lear and Bud Yorkin founded Tandem Productions, which produced several films. In 1970, Tandem moved into television with All in the Family, the first show on television to openly address issues of race. The show featured the openly racist character of Archie Bunker, based on Lear's father. On the show, Bunker's views clashed with almost everyone else around him, especially his liberal son-in-law Mike.
After All in the Family, Lear brought other influential shows to television such as Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times, and The Jeffersons. Maude, whose title character was an outspoken liberal, addressed hot-button social issues like abortion, and Sanford and Son, Good Times, and The Jeffersons were some of the first shows on television about African-American families.
In addition to his television career, Lear is also a political and social activist. He is the founder of several non-profit organizations including People for the American Way, a civil rights and civil liberties activism organization, and the Norman Lear Center at USC, a public policy and research center.
In 2000, Lear and his wife bought one of the few remaining original copies of the Declaration of Independence. The document is now touring the country as part of the Declaration of Independence Road Trip." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 11.13.03