At 94, veteran TV producer Norman Lear reflects on career in new film

Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:37pm EDT
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By Alicia Powell

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Starting with the goal of simply earning a living and supporting his family, Norman Lear became one of the most influential U.S. television producers and at the age of 94, he has no intention of slowing down.

After more than six decades in the business creating situation comedies such as "All in the Family," Lear talks about the highlights of his career and personal life in the new documentary, "American Masters - Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You," airing on Oct. 25 on PBS and available the same day on DVD.

Lear starts his mornings with stretching exercises and is still flexing his funny bone by continuing to create entertainment, most recently revamping his 1970s show "One Day at a Time" with a Cuban-American family for Netflix starring Rita Moreno.

Lear was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1922 and the 90-minute film chronicles his stint in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War Two.

"I would watch hundreds of bombs dropping and wonder, what if one missed a target and hit a home. And I remember thinking, screw them I don't care," Lear told Reuters.

He added that the experience taught him that "in our common humanity we are all capable of the worst of anybody else's behavior and the most transcendent also. We as human beings have the capacity for both."

After the war and with a growing family, Lear moved to Los Angeles and entered the world of show business by writing comedy sketches for television with a relative, saying it was the best way to make a living.

"It's hard to believe that that was the motivation at the time... but that was what it was about."   Continued...

Television producer Norman Lear poses for a portrait in New York, U.S., October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson