Norman Lear- Just Another Version of You By Eddy Friedeld The first two people in my life who taught me to think deeply about social and political issues and argue cogently and passionately for what I believed in were my late father David and Norman Lear.
Lear, the year-old entertainment icon is the subject of a terrific American Masters documentary: Speaking from his home in Los Angeles about both the documentary and his masterful autobiography, Even This I Get to Experience, he still has an energy level that would put people a quarter of his age to shame.
Charming and reflective, he explains why he wears the white hat that has become his favorite article of clothing and his signature garment. He has never lost his childlike view of the world.
Human beings are all foolish- that knits us all together. A national icon for hope, when asked whether he was more worried about the American people 40 years ago or now, he said: He is gathering all of those people who are suffering as a result of the fact that we have little if not a long way to go, making for a culture where everyone has equal opportunity, and he is helping those that do not enjoy equal opportunity that villains are keeping them from getting and he is the hero.
He was part of the transitional generation from American Jews to Jewish Americans. Proud, fiercely loyal and carrying a sense of purpose and cultural and religious commitment to justice that permeated their work.
In the s, Lear singlehandedly changed television with All in the Family, which became a platform for social discussion and reform. Norman Lear revolutionized the sitcom, taking the American family from the antiseptic and idealized to the contentious and dysfunctional.
He was the first to hold up the mirror and share social issues through the sitcom format. Until Lear, mainstream television did not carry Vietnam protests. I went with that relationship and never lived to regret it. The first show began with a disclaimer: It seeks to throw a humorous spotlight on our frailties, prejudices and concerns. By making them a source of laughter, we hope to show- in a mature fashion- just how absurd they are. It was the top-rated show on American television, and the winner of four consecutive Emmy Awards as Outstanding Comedy Series.
All in the Family was not only one of the most successful sitcoms in history, it was also one of the most important and influential series ever to air, ushering in a new era in American television characterized by programs that did not shy away from addressing controversial or socially relevant subject matters and created an intelligent discourse, couched against a comedic and satirical backdrop.
He had those opinions reflexively. I am the same way. I think of myself as a bleeding heart conservative. I think the most conservative thing in America is to be devoted to The First Amendment, to The Bill of Rights, to the notion that we are all created equal under the law, and we must find a way to ensure equal justice. The problem is that the people who do the best job at pretending that they back those documents are the Right.
In the s, most of America was laughing and thinking because of Norman Lear. He reflected on a few of his many friendships, including Carl Reiner, with whom I was able to agree from own experience: Picker, Los Angeles, Photo copyright Cinema Retro. It was aspirational, angry. George Jefferson taught me how to walk- with confidence. Lear retired from television to devote his life to activism.
He also bought an original copy of The Declaration of Independence and toured it around the country. When asked about what advice he would give to students who are embarking on artistic careers, especially comedy, Lear said: What they might know is that his wife, Deborah Nadoolman, has also gone above-and-beyond for us, as well. In , we were shepherding members of one of our movie-themed tours around London film locations. Deborah, one of the most accomplished costume designers in the industry, was in the city for the opening of a major exhibition about famous costumes seen in cinema.
We requested that perhaps she could give our members a private tour of the exhibition. Deborah readily agreed and she and her co-curator Sir Christopher Frayling arranged to have us gain entrance to the museum an hour before opening time for the public. Deborah regaled us with wonderful anecdotes about many of the costumes on display including those from "Raiders of the Lost Ark", as it was Deborah who created that iconic look for Harrison Ford.
The Daily Beast's Joshua David Stein has written a very welcome article about Deborah and her achievements in the film industry.
You're likely to find some interesting anecdotes relating to both "Raiders" and Michael Jackson's landmark music video for "Thriller" which John Landis directed and Deborah designed the costumes for.
Click here to read. Don Rickles is now 90 years old and still performing, though according to a profile in the Washington Post, he's now considered a sit-down comedian, with a recliner on stage being about the only concession he's made to his advanced age and the onset of some physical infirmities. But his razor-sharp humor remains intact and Rickles still writes his own material to perform in front of appreciative audiences. Most people would be uncomfortable with being singled out by a snarky comedian but Rickles' fans consider it be a mark of honor to be on the receiving end of his insults.
There was a time when Rickles broke barriers with his unique act in the s. Until then, most stand-up comics were relatively benign and respectful to their audiences. Rickles changed all of that. A downside of his influence is that, while Rickles gentle ribbing never crossed the line into vulgarity, the younger generation of comedians had no such reservations. Perhaps because his act reminds us of a gentler time in American comedy, Rickles is now considered to be a national treasure.
It's worth noting that he is also an accomplished actor, having appeared in dramatic roles in feature films in such diverse fare as Roger Corman's "X: After Rickles caught on with his comedy shtick, he remained a popular fixture in feature films, often replicating his wiseguy persona, most memorably in the Clint Eastwood WWII comedy caper film "Kelly's Heroes".
He also provided the voice of the grumpy Mr. The Don Rickles Project". Click here for an interview with Rickles and clips of some of his best moments. For Alan Young's official site, go to: In tribute, we are re-running Nick Thomas's exclusive interview with him. This interview originally ran in November By Nick Thomas Alan Young created some memorable characters over his long career in film and television.
He also horsed around as Wilbur Post for six seasons in one of best-loved sitcoms ever, Mister Ed, and was the voice behind numerous cartoon characters such as the grumpy Scrooge McDuck. But when I spoke with him a few days ago, he was quite happy to chat about his long career. Bed-ridden for months at a time with asthma, Alan would listen to radio shows and write his own comedy routines. He later made Los Angeles his home and went on to appear in some 20 films and dozens more television roles.
He recently revised and republished the book as "Mister Ed and Me My publisher suggested adding more stories about my life so I included some that I think will interest readers. So I asked Connie if she would do a chapter about her life and she was happy to.
That impressed my dad, who earned the same amount for working all day in a shipyard at the time. Was" which is crammed with delightful Hollywood memories and stories. Well I love to write. For example, we had to learn by the seat of our pants, as there were few schools that taught acting skills.