Norman Lear Remembered by Jennifer Aniston, Jimmy Kimmel, George Clooney, Tyler Perry and More

The pioneer of television died at the age of 101 on Tuesday of natural causes.

Norman Lear, the Emmy-winning producer, writer and creator of such iconic TV shows as All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times and One Day at a Timedied on Tuesday. He was 101.

Lara Bergthold, a spokeswoman for the family, told ET in a statement that Lear died "after a lifetime of laughter" on Tuesday, at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes.  A private service for immediate family will be held.

"Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Norman lived a life of creativity, tenacity, and empathy. He deeply loved our country and spent a lifetime helping to preserve its founding ideals of justice and equality for all. Knowing and loving him has been the greatest of gifts. We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being," the statement read.

Getty Images

Following the news of his death, Lear was remembered by Hollywood for his contributions and groundbreaking work.

Jennifer Aniston took to Instagram to reflect on the loss of her friend and mentor, sharing a picture of her embracing the TV legend. 

"Norman Lear. 💔 His shows shaped my childhood and getting to know him was one of my greatest honors. He made such a difference. A huge impact on television and humanity. He was able to tackle and discuss heated political conversations during difficult and charged times and we were able to laugh and learn. I yearn for those days. When creativity was a learning tool and could inspire people to maybe think just a little bit differently. And of course to laugh. Our greatest source of healing." 

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

She continued, "He was the kindest and gentlest man. When you were in his presence, you were the only one in the room. He made everyone feel this. Even when someone believed differently than him. That’s what made life and people interesting to him. To have discussions and really take in how people felt and hear their point of view. He knew how to give voice to all sides and somehow in the process bring people closer together. May we take a page from Norman’s playbook as a way of honoring his life. An extraordinary life. Rest in peace Norman. It was a gift to stand in your light."

Jimmy Kimmel, who worked closely with Lear over the years, reflected on his legacy and their friendship.

"It is obviously silly to want more time with a person who outlived a whole century but losing Norman Lear, even at 101 years old, feels unfair," Kimmel said in a statement. "His bravery, integrity and unmatched moral compass were equaled by his kindness, empathy, and wit. Norman was very proud of the fact that the so-called Reverend Jerry Falwell dubbed him 'The number one enemy of the American family.'  The opposite was true. More than anyone before him, Norman used situation comedy to shine a light on prejudice, intolerance, and inequality. He created families that mirrored ours, showing us a world in which Archie Bunker and Michael Stivic could learn to not only co-exist, but to love one another."  

Getty Images

He continued, "As a young man, Technical Sergeant Lear flew 52 combat missions over Nazi Germany. He continued to fight for freedom all the way to the end of his life on earth. Even at 101, Norman cared as much about the future, our children, and planet or as anyone I have ever known. He was a great American, a hero in every way and so funny, smart, and lovely man you almost couldn’t believe it. The privilege of working alongside Norman and the opportunity he gave me and my wife to get to know him and his beautiful family has been among the great honors and pleasures of my life. We were all very lucky to have him."

Kelsey Grammer sat down with ET on Wednesday, and admitted that, while he didn't know Lear personally, he admired his integrity and professional accomplishments.

"I think he had his finger on the pulse of contemporary culture, and I think that's one of the jobs we have as sitcom people," he shared. "Television, theater, stuff like that is kind of the direct mouth piece of what we're all going through."

George Clooney shared his grief, writing that Lear is "gone too soon." 

"It’s hard to reconcile that at 101 years old, Norman Lear is gone too soon," the Oscar-winning actor said. "The entire world of reason just lost its greatest advocate and our family lost a dear friend. A giant walked in his shoes."

Getty Images

Tyler Perry shared a message and reflected on the time he recently spent with the late television icon, who paved the way for his success.

"Not long ago I had the pleasure of meeting one of my heroes. He invited me to lunch at his home and as we sat and talked and laughed, I got a chance to tell him how he had helped save my life," Perry wrote. "I shared with him that he taught me to dream a bigger dream by his example. He was 100 years old at the time, but sharp as ever. Full of wisdom and great advice, and I took it all in. Just before I left, I asked, 'At 100 years old what are you looking forward to?' Without any hesitation he said, 'Tomorrow.'"

"It was such a simple but powerful lesson to live your life fully one day at a time. And One Day at a Time just happened to be the name of one of his many hit TV shows along with Maude, All in the Family, Good Times, Sanford and Son and so many other incredible shows," he added. "They were the only thing that brought laughter and joy to me as a child, who was living a daily nightmare. I’m so glad that I had the chance to say to him, thanks to his vision and his work, he gave me many 'tomorrows' to look forward to."

Perry reflected on Lear's time in the military and the impact he made on other surviving veterans, who had gone overlooked by history.

"So today, sadly, I say goodbye and I salute a veteran," he wrote. "One who asked me to help put together a moment for him to say thank you to the surviving Redtail Tuskegee Airmen, he wanted to thank them for the escorts they provided him and others during World War II, which I did with Robin Roberts on GMA. It felt good to be able to do something for him. A hero and someone who inspired me to try and bring as much laughter to the world as he bought to the little boy that I was. You sir are truly one of one!  I’m so glad we were on the planet at the same time. Thank you for your example. Rest in peace my dear friend, I thank God for you. My prayers are with your family. Travel well, Mr. Norman Lear."

Jane Fonda celebrated the loss of her friend.

Getty Images

"Today is a very sad day. Norman Lear, a man who meant a lot to many on a personal level and who changed the face and soul of American comedy, has passed," she wrote. "My heart is heavy. I loved Norman."

Rita Moreno wrote, "I am cut to the quick and already lonesome for my dear friend, Norman. Our nation has lost a treasured looking glass. By his reflected wit we were disarmed enough to see our wrinkles. And he wasn’t promoting makeup but heart transplants."

Jimmie Walker, who starred on Lear's show Good Times, reacted to the news, writing, "Working with and for Norman Lear was and still is a great educational and learning experience. Norman worked hard and with the help of many achieved incredible success. I worked hard and never came close and never will. Norman in body and flesh will be missed. But his work will live forever."

CBS released a statement, saying, "Norman Lear’s profound influence on television will never be forgotten. He was a creative icon whose comedic and courageous perspective on the America he loved had an immeasurable impact on our network, our viewers and television overall. His funny, realistic and fearless approach to storytelling rang true in his sharp writing and rich characters. He redefined the sitcom by introducing topics that had previously been avoided, including race, poverty and sexism."

"And he did it all with wit and heart, making it relatable to millions of Americans. Norman’s broad impact on our industry is surpassed only by his personal influence on the lives of the innumerable people he touched at every level of our business. He also remained a passionate advocate for equality and justice throughout his remarkable life. We extend our deepest condolences to Norman’s beloved family. His legacy will forever touch the medium we all love," the statement from CBS added.

ABC Entertainment wrote, "There are no words to fully express the monumental impact and legacy that Norman Lear leaves behind. He was an icon and the brilliant mind behind countless timely and meaningful shows that were full of heart and humor. He wasn’t afraid to take risks and was one of the most influential storytellers in television history. His passion went far beyond the screen as a veteran, philanthropist and social activist. Our hearts are with his wife, Lyn, his children and all those who knew and loved him. Norman, we thank you for the beautiful stories that have transformed our industry and for making us laugh along the way."

Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO Sony Pictures Entertainment, shared, "We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend Norman Lear. A Founding Father in our industry, Norman and the shows he created defined what great television could be.  Always entertaining, impactful, and fearless in addressing society's most complex and difficult issues through humor, shows like All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and One Day at a Time set the standard for modern television audiences and paved the way for just about every great situation comedy or drama that has followed since."

"Norman will forever be recognized among the great television legends, and we are honored to have had him as part of the Sony family. It was always a such a joy having him with us on the lot, and I’m already missing being able to check in with him," Vinciquerra said. "Our hearts go out to Lyn and his family and all those who had the pleasure of knowing him."

And Brent Miller, President of Production, Act III Productions, said, "It has been an absolute privilege and honor to be one of Norman’s many collaborators and partners. It has been thrilling and inspiring. He pushed us and inspired us every day to make entertainment that mattered. I will miss Norman's wisdom, wit and friendship deeply. With the help and support of our partners at Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as many other talented collaborators - writers, actors, executives and crew - we were fortunate enough to make television history, over and over again. He will remain the guiding light at Act III Productions as we continue the shows already in production and move forward with those we imagined together. I already miss his laugh and the twinkle in his eye and our shared love of Bloody Marys. But as he always said… to be continued…."

For more tributes, scroll below.


Latest News