Vox Tablet

The Life and Good Times of Norman Lear

The genius behind ‘All in the Family,’ ‘The Jeffersons,’ and other barrier-breaking TV shows talks about his childhood and career

December 2, 2014

Archie Bunker, George Jefferson, Mary Hartman, Maude Findlay are just a handful of the iconic characters Norman Lear created for television. In his storied career, Lear tackled abortion, cancer, racism, rape, abuse, interracial relationships, single motherhood, alcoholism, and poverty—subjects many shows today won’t even consider as viable fodder for entertainment. Now 92 years old, Lear got his start writing bits for showmen like Danny Thomas and Jerry Lewis before moving into television and film and then embarking on a second career as an activist (he co-founded People for the American Way).

Now Lear has moved into a new medium—print. He has written Even This I Get To Experience, a memoir, and joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss how his father, who was in jail for several years during Lear’s childhood, inspired and deviates from Archie, what compelled him about writing shows about racial and economic disparities, and why Transparent is the best show on television now.

Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

More Vox Tablet
See all