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"To know him was one of my greatest honors": Jennifer Aniston pays touching tribute to Norman Lear

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Los Angeles | December 7, 2023 1:22:02 PM IST
Actor Jennifer Aniston paid a touching tribute to Norman Lear, writer-producer-developer following his demise.

Taking to Instagram, Jennifer shared a string of images with a TV writer along with a note.

The note read, "Norman Lear. His shows shaped my childhood and getting to know him was one of my greatest honors. He made such a difference. A huge impact on television and humanity. He was able to tackle and discuss heated political conversations during difficult and charged times and we were able to laugh and learn. I yearn for those days. When creativity was a learning tool and could inspire people to maybe think just a little bit differently. And of course to laugh. Our greatest source of healing."

https://www.instagram.com/p/C0hrmh-vU_8/?

She remembered Lear as "the kindest and gentlest man," recalling how he use to make people feel like they were "the only one in the room."

"He was the kindest and gentlest man. When you were in his presence, you were the only one in the room. He made everyone feel this. Even when someone believed differently than him. That's what made life and people interesting to him. To have discussions and really take in how people felt and hear their point of view. He knew how to give voice to all sides and somehow in the process bring people closer together. May we take a page from Norman's playbook as a way of honoring his life. An extraordinary life.Rest in peace Norman. It was a gift to stand in your light," 'Friends' actor added.

Norman breathed his last on Tuesday. He was 101 years old.

Norman revolutionised American comedy with such bold, hugely popular early-'70s sitcoms such as 'All in the Family' and 'Sanford and Son'.

He died of natural causes at his Los Angeles residence. A private service for immediate family members will be held in the coming days, Lear's publicist confirmed to Variety.

As per Variety quoted, "Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather," Lear's family said in a statement. "Norman lived a life of creativity, tenacity, and empathy. He deeply loved our country and spent a lifetime helping to preserve its founding ideals of justice and equality for all. Knowing and loving him has been the greatest of gifts. We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being."

When Lear came up with the idea for a new sitcom based on a popular British show about a conservative, outspokenly bigoted working-class man and his fractious Queens family, he had already established himself as a top comedy writer, having received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for 'Divorce American Style' in 1968. 'All in the Family' was an instant smash, reportedly with viewers of all political stripes.

Lear's shows were the first to address the important political, cultural, and social issues of the day - racism, abortion, homosexuality, and the Vietnam War - by incorporating incisive new wrinkles into the classic domestic comedy formula. Two 1977 episodes of 'All in the Family' dealt with the attempted rape of lead character Archie Bunker's wife Edith.

Their fresh outrageousness made them into great ratings successes: 'Family' and 'Sanford', both based on a Los Angeles Black family, rated first and second in the country for a while. 'All in the Family' spawned no less than six spin-offs. 'Family' received four Emmys in 1971-73, as well as a Peabody Award in 1977 for Lear, "for giving us comedy with a social conscience." (In 2016, he got a second Peabody Award for his career achievements.)

Some of Lear's other works challenged TV traditions. "One Day at a Time" (1975-84), a new concept for a sitcom, with a single mother of two young girls as its lead. Similarly, "Diff'rent Strokes" (1978-1986) depicted the maturation of two Black children adopted by a wealthy white businessman.

Other series created by Lear were meta long before the phrase existed. 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' (1976-77) parodied the distorted drama of daytime soaps; while the show was never picked up by a network, it became a beloved off-the-wall entry in syndication. 'Hartman' had its own eccentric spinoff, 'Fernwood 2 Night', a parody chat show set in a small Ohio town; the show was eventually retooled as 'America 2-Night', with the setting shifted to Los Angeles.

Lear always insisted that the underlying formula for his comedies was always the same: keep 'em laughing.

His extensive career was documented in the 2016 documentary 'Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You'. He later hosted the podcast 'All of the Above With Norman Lear' and wrote a memoir. "Even This I Get to Experience" was released in 2014. He was also an executive producer for the documentary "Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided to Go For It."

He is survived by his third wife Lyn Davis, six children and four grandchildren, reported Variety. (ANI)

 
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