In early December 2017, Norman Lear was a Kennedy Center Honoree at the 40th annual national celebration of the arts. While Norman Lear doesn't qualify as a Boomer (he was born in 1922), this comedic genius has undoubtedly had an impact on all of our lives. He is perhaps best known as the creator of the hit TV show, "All in the Family," which famously exposed the narrow-minded but hysterically funny logic of one Archie Bunker to viewers all across the country. That was not his only television breakthrough, however; Lear created such significant shows as "Maude," "Sanford and Son," "Good Times," and "The Jeffersons."
Lear did not restrict his expansive thinking to the entertainment business. He also founded the non-profit organization, People for the American Way, as well as the Business Enterprise Trust, the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, and the Environmental Media Association. Along with his wife, Lear purchased one of the few surviving copies of the Declaration of Independence and then took it on a tour of all fifty states so Americans could see it. At the same time, he launched a nonpartisan youth voter initiative that accounted for registering over four million new young voters.
Lear published his autobiography, Even This I Get to Experience, in 2014. The book offers some insight into Lear's philosophy of life and how, despite his own challenges, he succeeded.
Norman Lear continues to be active and engaged at age 95. An iconoclast, he is always seen wearing his distinguishing trademark, a white hat (which he even wore to the Kennedy Center). Few of us can hope to achieve what Lear has accomplished (and is still accomplishing) in his lifetime, but what a great model for all Boomers. Lear demonstrates that advancing in age need not be a barrier to living a full life.