Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film, and as a political and social activist and philanthropist. He is perhaps best-known as the creator of the 1970s CBS sitcom All in the Family, which won the Peabody Award in 1978 and four Outstanding Comedy Series Emmys. He later created or produced many hit shows, including Maude, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, Good Times and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. One of the first seven television pioneers inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, Lear began his career writing for The Ford Star Revue and Colgate Comedy Hour. In 1967, his script for Divorce American Style was nominated for an Academy Award. President Bill Clinton award him the National Medal of Arts in 1999, saying, Norman Lear has held up a mirror to American society and changed the way we look at it.
Lear is a founder or co-founder of People for the American Way, the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, the Environmental Media Association and Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan youth voter registration initiative. He is currently chairman of Act III Communications, a multimedia holding company. Lear attended Emerson College and is a World War II veteran.