Atlanta

Television industry alums in Atlanta celebrate the life of Norman Lear

ATLANTA — The entertainment industry is celebrating the life of legendary Hollywood producer Norman Lear, who passed away this week. He was 101.

Atlanta resident Margaret Bush-Ware used to work in Hollywood, and she also worked with Producer Norman Lear several times.

Bush-Ware was the assistant to Sammy Davis Jr. from 1970-1982.

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She showed Channel 2′s Larry Spruill her museum of photos from when she lived in Los Angeles.

“The black shows, the sitcoms that he established like ‘Good Times’ and ‘The Jeffersons’. All of those shows were before their time, and they lasted a long time,” she told Spruill. “He was before his time when it came to getting African Americans the opportunity to display their talents.”

The sitcom Lear, created in the early 1970s, took on subjects that until then had never been discussed in primetime.

Dr. Brian Bentley of Clark Atlanta University remembers watching “The Jeffersons” when he got home from school.

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“African Americans can stay in the high rise,” Bentley said. “African Americans can be successful in business.”

Sitcoms like “All in the Family” confronted the issues you couldn’t discuss in primetime, from feminism to racism.

Tributes to the late television trailblazer have poured in from Hollywood and Tyler Perry in Atlanta.

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Bentley said, “All in the Family,” “The Jefferson,” “Sanford and Sons,” “Good Times,” “Maude,” and “One Day at a Time” all stand the test of time.

At one point in the 1970s, Lear produced five of the top 10 television shows.

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Larry Spruill

Larry Spruill, WSB-TV

Larry Spruill Jr. has been part of the WSB-TV family since March 2022. He is an Emmy Nominated Journalist with over 12 years of news and storytelling experience.