Fans often wonder how old Norman Lear is. Good news is, Lear turns 100 today! HypeFresh will be celebrating Lear today by highlighting his legendary impact as a storyteller. Born a July Leo, Norman is a jack of the television trade, a master at creating and telling Black stories. He is a legendary producer, writer and director. We can thank Lear for sitcoms like Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Sanford and Son. Lear’s microscope on the working class Black familial structure dynamically portrays Black families in a positive light. Lear’s introduction to our favorite Black characters on these shows would stay with us for a lifetime. Good Times, The Jeffersons and Sanford and Son all stream on select platforms.
5 Ways Norman Lear Changed the Trajectory of Television
Norman Lear didn’t know he would be making history by introducing audiences to working class families, according to The Takeaway. He would then start adding African American actor with reoccurring roles. With Black actors taking reoccurring roles, predominantly Black sitcoms would be born. Here are 5 ways Lear would change the trajectory of television.
- The Jeffersons. According to Vibe, The Jeffersons is one of Lear’s most iconic shows. It is the first show to prominently feature an interracial couple—A game changer for the 1970s era.
- Good Times. Florida Evans, a maid from his show, Maude, would get her entire own spinoff. Lear would go on to create a backstory for Florida, entailing her own personal family life.
- Sanford and Son. Of course, the original King of comedy, Redd Foxx, would join the Lear jet. Although Foxx’s potty mouth stand up jokes could be offensive, this didn’t stop Lear from snatching him up. After seeing Foxx perform during his residency in Las Vegas, Lear and his co-producer would create, Sanford and Son, starring Redd Foxx.
- Authored untapped spaces. Whereas television was predominantly white then, he would use his advantage to highlight people of color. Not just that, he had a gift for using his white and Black casts to act out issues of racism, politics among other systematic problems.
- The Little Rascals. Because of Norman Lear, The Little Rascals exist! If you are a millennial, you get this. Nothing like those days in elementary school watching the 90s version of the movie. You had to be there.