Norman Lear has been married three times and has six children and several grandchildren. He has been married to his current wife, Lyn Davis Lear, for more than 30 years.
Lear, now 100 years old, was a television writer and producer best known for his work in the 1970s, including Maude, All In the Family, The Jeffersons and Sanford and Son. Lear turned 100 July 27, 2022, and ABC celebrated his 100th birthday with a television special tonight, on September 22, 2022.
“Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter” is a celebration of one man’s life and legacy, ABC reported.
“I am going to be as surprised and pleased–or offended–as anybody else viewing,” Lear told ABC.
Lear has lived a full and rich life. Read more about his background here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lear’s Wife, Lyn, Called Her Husband ‘The Last of the Real Romantics’ & Had Three Children With Him
After more than three decades of marriage, Norman and Lyn Lear gushed about their romance in an interview with Closer Weekly.
“He’s the last of the real romantics,” she said, and told reporters he starts every morning with a kiss.
“Every morning, he wants to have a kiss when I wake up. It’s a nice way to start the day,” she said.
Lyn Davis, 73, was a psychologist. The two were married in 1987. Their romance blossomed when she asked him for help on her PhD, according to The List. Lear said in the interview with Closer Weekly he loves the way his wife loves him.
“I love the way she loves me,” he said. “I’m just one selfish cat!”
Norman and Lyn Lear have three children: a son, Benjamin Davis, and twin girls, Brianna Elizabeth and Madelaine Rose.
2. Lear Proposed to His First Wife, Charlotte Rosen, After Seeing Her ‘Fewer Than a Dozen Times’ & Had a Daughter, Ellen
Lear and his first wife, Charlotte Rosen, were engaged when he was only 17 years old. She was 18 and worked at a cosmetics counter. They met in 1939 on a hayride, he wrote in his memoir, “Even This I Get to Experience.” He dropped out of college to join the Air Force, and the two were married in 1942.
Ellen Lear was born in 1947. After about 10 years of marriage, the couple faced a serious conflict. He wanted to move to New York City to advance in his career. Charlotte was so unhappy that she was seeing a therapist every weekday, his memoir said. They split when she decided to stay in Los Angeles, and he moved to New York.
Charlotte and Norman Lear were divorced in 1956. Their daughter, Ellen, eventually moved to New York with her dad and his new wife, Frances Lear, when she was 14 years old.
3. Frances Lear Used Part of Her $100 Million Divorce Settlement With Lear to Found a Feminist Magazine
Frances Lear led a difficult life marked by childhood trauma. She had bipolar disorder, struggled with alcoholism and survived suicide attempts. Norman Lear was drawn to her struggles, he wrote in his memoir, “Even This I Get to Experience.”
“Everything I knew about her difficult and colorful life before I appeared at her front door fascinated me,” he wrote.
She spoke to the Associated Press about the abuse she suffered and overcame.
“A survivor has become a word that refers to anyone who’s gotten through a difficult experience,” she said. “A prevailer is someone who gets through it and goes onto the next stage of life.”
When Norman Lear met Frances, she was 32 and had already been divorced twice. They were married for 28 years before their divorce. She won a $112 million divorce settlement, which she used to found a feminist magazine, “Lear’s,” aimed at women over 40. Its slogan was “for the woman who wasn’t born yesterday.”
She died in 1996 at age 73 after a battle with breast cancer, according to the Associated Press.
The couple had two daughters. Kate Lear was born in 1957 and Maggie Lear was born in 1959.
4. Norman Lear Had 6 Children Including a Sex Therapist Daughter, an Executive Daughter & a Filmmaker Son
Lear had six children born to his three wives. Ellen Lear, his oldest, was born in 1947 to Norman Lear and his first wife, Charlotte Rosen Lear. She works as a sex therapist, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Another daughter, Kate Lear, was a daughter of Norman Lear’s second wife, Frances Lear. She is an executive and she is married to Jonathan LaPook, an Upper West Side medical doctor who is often featured on CBS. They have two children, and live in New York, according to the Observer.
Norman Lear’s only son, Benjamin Lear, followed in his father’s footsteps to make a career in film. He is a filmmaker his work on They Call Us Monsters (2016) and Bad for the Boats (2017), according to his IMDB profile. Benjamin Lear’s sisters are twins.
5. Norman Lear Is a Grandfather & a Godfather to at Least 5 Children
Norman Lear had six grandchildren at the time of a PBS profile on his life when he was featured on Season 3, Episode 4 of Tragedy+Time=Comedy. His four grandchildren are Daniel, Noah, Griffin, and Zoe. He is also the godfather of singer Katey Sagal.
In an interview with the TV Guide channel, she spoke about how her sitcom producer godfather and TV director father, Boris Sagal, helped shape her career.
“In a weird way it never felt like pressure but more like, ‘Oh, this is what I’m going to do,'” she said. “My father really wanted me to be an actor, but I was going to be a singer, so I said, ‘No, I’m not going to be an actor.’ As it would happen, it worked out more in his favor!”
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