May 26, 2019

Norman Lear at 96: ‘I’ve Loved Every Day I’ve Awakened’

After celebrating his 96th birthday with his family on July 27, TV producer Norman Lear was back at work the following day, joining the cast of “One Day at a Time” for Netflix’s presentations at the Television Critics Association press tour.

Active as ever, the creator of such iconic shows as “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Maude” is the “very involved” executive producer of the new version of “One Day,” according to star Rita Moreno. “He shows up every Monday for the table reading. He shows up for run-throughs, and he shows up and talks to the audience on shoot day,” she said.

Lear, who told the audience he had “the best weekend ever” celebrating his birthday over meals with his family, later elaborated, telling the Journal that five of his six children took him out for “a couple of meals together. I’m proud of them and their relationships with me and with one another. I think my wife and me have done a really good job.” Lear and his third wife, Lyn, have been together for 33 years.

The Jewish TV pioneer said that although he is not religious, “I love who I represent, and what I am is a Jew. Culturally, I’m as Jewish as it’s possible to be.”

As for staying vital and productive in his tenth decade, Lear said that “living in the moment” and “working in very close collaboration with nature” keeps him young. “I’ve loved every day I’ve awakened,” he said.

Retirement is not on Lear’s agenda. His newest project is “Guess Who Died,” a sitcom pilot for NBC set in a retirement community, starring Hector Elizondo and Holland Taylor.