Legendary TV producer and writer, Norman Lear, is going to receive the honor of the Carol Burnett Award at the upcoming Golden Globes. The show is on Feb. 28.
The Carol Burnett Award is for an individual “who has made outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen.” Past recipients have been Ellen DeGeneres and Carol Burnett herself.
Carol Burnett Award
The award will be in good hands with Lear. He has worked as a television producer that has greatly expanded race relations. He is also a six-time Emmy-winner.
Norman Lear has worked on sitcoms like “All in the Family,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Sanford and Son.” He has used his platform as a writer, director, and producer to bring diversity to TV. “All in the Family” remains incredibly influential today. It was one of the first shows to openly take on controversial topics.
“His career has encompassed both the Golden Age and Streaming Era, throughout which his progressive approach addressing controversial topics through humor prompted a cultural shift that allowed social and political issues to be reflected in television,” HFPA president Ali Sar said of Lear’s legacy, according to AP News.
Beyond racial issues and diversity, Lear has taken it upon himself to allow his shows to highlight other key issues. These include war, sexuality, abortion, sexism, rape, bigotry, and even poverty. They are all done through the typical sitcom-style humor. He has also created the shows “Maude,” “One Day at a Time,” and “Marty Hartman, Marty Hartman.” His shows have reached wide audiences. They have also helped pave to way for socially-aware sitcoms.
Other nominations related to the upcoming Golden Globes will come on Feb. 3.
Norman Lear as an Activist
Norman Lear, who is currently 98, has spent his life and career in the television industry. That hasn’t stopped him from playing a key role in activism as well.
One of his focuses has been impassioning young people to vote in elections.
“To start with, it takes a passion and a devotion to the subject. And it’s a desire to pass that passion on — thinking of it as a lot of dry grass that’s just waiting for the spark — I think that’s as good a definition, as I’ve thought of anyway, as what showmanship is all about,” Lear said in an interview with NPR.
He also explained why “All in the Family” was so popular. It starred Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker. Audiences got to watch as a blue-collar Queens family fought culture wars that are still very much in effect today. The show has 22 Emmys and is the ninth-best show of all-time according to Rolling Stone.
“We were writing a show and enjoying the taping. Standing behind an audience of 240 people and watching an audience come out of its seat and go down and come back up again on a big laugh was a spiritual experience,” he said.
Personal Words and Experience
Lear details his work and his activism in his book, “This I Get to Experience.” He says that it is impossible to separate artists and activists.
“When I was nine, my father was taken away, sent to prison for fraud, but through public school civics classes I learned I lived in a country that considered me an equal. Despite the fact my father was a criminal, despite the fact that we were Jewish, despite the fact there was a Father Coughlin, I had guarantees under the law. I was protected. I was as good as the next guy,” Norman Lear said, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
All of these life experiences would play a role in his future as a comedic TV writer.