Writer, producer and free-speech champion Norman Lear defined decades of US popular culture with his groundbreaking TV shows.

Why you should listen

With his blockbuster TV hit All in the Family, Norman Lear introduced new icons -- Archie and Edith Bunker -- while simultaneously redefining television and its role in America’s moral conscience. The series spawned hit spin-offs like The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time and Maude, making Lear a household name throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Lear’s free-speech activism dovetails with his entertainment career. In 1981, Lear founded People for the American Way in response to a wave of religious fundamentalism he viewed as a threat to the separation of church and state. In 2001, he purchased an early print of the Declaration of Independence, showing it throughout the US as part of the Declaration of Independence Road Trip.

Lear's memoir, Even This I Get to Experience, was released in 2014. The PBS documentary series American Masters will release Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You in theaters July 2016 and on PBS and Netflix Fall 2016.

What others say

“A one-man Golden Age of Television.” — New York Times, December 5, 2014

Norman Lear’s TED talk