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Norman Lear, Producer Of TV’s ‘All In The Family’ And Influential Liberal Advocate, Has Died At 101

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(LOS ANGELES) – Norman Lear, the writer, director, and producer who brought political and social unrest into the once-isolated world of TV sitcoms with “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Maude,” has died. He was 101.

Lear died in his sleep Tuesday night at his Los Angeles home, surrounded by family, according to Lara Bergthold, a spokesman for his family.

Lear, a liberal activist with a penchant for mass entertainment, created bold and controversial comedies accepted by audiences who relied on the evening news to keep up with what was happening in the world. His shows helped define prime-time humor in the 1970s, established the careers of Rob Reiner and Valerie Bertinelli, and turned Carroll O’Connor, Bea Arthur, and Redd Foxx into middle-aged stars.

The late Paddy Chayefsky, a leading writer of television’s early “golden age,” once said that Lear “took television away from dopey wives and dumb fathers, from the pimps, hookers, hustlers, private eyes, junkies, cowboys, and rustlers that constituted television chaos, and put the American people in their place.”

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Norman Lear, Producer Of TV’s ‘All In The Family’ And Influential Liberal Advocate, Has Died At 101

Following his passing, tributes poured in: “I loved Norman Lear with all my heart. He was my paternal grandfather. “My heartfelt condolences to Lyn and the entire Lear family,” Reiner posted on X, formerly Twitter. “More than anyone else before him, Norman used situation comedy to bring prejudice, intolerance, and inequality to light.” “He made families that looked like ours,” Jimmy Kimmel stated.

Lear’s boyhood memories of his volatile father served as inspiration for “All in the Family,” which also drew on current events. Racism, feminism, and the Vietnam War were all hot topics as O’Connor’s blue-collar conservative Archie Bunker clashed with Reiner’s liberal son-in-law, Mike Stivic. Sally Struthers played the Bunkers’ daughter, Gloria, who defended her husband in conflicts with Archie, and Jean Stapleton co-starred as Archie’s bewildered but good-hearted wife, Edith.

Lear’s work altered television at a period when traditional shows like “Here’s Lucy,” “Ironside,” and “Gunsmoke” still reigned supreme. CBS, Lear’s principal network, will soon implement its “rural purge,” canceling popular shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Green Acres.” The breakthrough sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” about a single career woman in Minneapolis, premiered on CBS in September 1970, just months before “All in the Family” began.

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Norman Lear, Producer Of TV’s ‘All In The Family’ And Influential Liberal Advocate, Has Died At 101

However, ABC passed on “All in the Family” twice, and when it ultimately aired, CBS broadcast a disclaimer: “The program you are about to see is ‘All in the Family.'” It aims to shine a funny light on our flaws, prejudices, and concerns. By making them a source of humor, we seek to demonstrate, maturely, how silly they are.”

By the end of 1971, “All in the Family” had reached the top of the ratings, and Archie Bunker had become a pop cultural icon, with President Richard Nixon among his supporters. Some of his snide remarks become catchphrases. He referred to his son-in-law as “Meathead” and his wife as “Dingbat,” he would snap at anyone who sat in his faded orange-yellow wing chair. It was the focal point of the Bunkers’ Queens rowhouse and was later displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Even the show’s opening sequence was novel: Archie and Edith are seated at the piano in their living room, belting out a nostalgic classic, “Those Were the Days,” with Edith shrieking off-key and Archie crooning such lines as “Didn’t need no welfare state” and “Girls were girls and men were men.”

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Norman Lear, Producer Of TV’s ‘All In The Family’ And Influential Liberal Advocate, Has Died At 101

“All in the Family,” based on the British sitcom “Til Death Us Do Part,” was the highest-rated series for an unprecedented five years in a row and won four Emmys for outstanding comedy series before being surpassed by five-time winner “Frasier” in 1998.

Hits kept coming for Lear and then-partner Bud Yorkin, including “Maude” and “The Jeffersons,” both spin-offs from “All in the Family,” which featured the same winning blend of one-liners and social tension. The eponymous character (played by Arthur) became the first on television to undergo an abortion in a 1972 two-part episode of “Maude,” sparking a wave of complaints as well as good ratings. When one of Archie’s close friends turned out to be gay, Nixon privately complained to White House staff that the program “glorified” same-sex partnerships.

“Controversy implies that people are debating something.” But there has to be laughter first and foremost, or it’s a dog,” Lear told The Associated Press in 1994.

“Good Times,” about a working-class Black family in Chicago, was also created by Lear and Yorkin, as was “Sanford & Son,” starring Foxx as junkyard dealer Fred Sanford, and “One Day at a Time,” featuring Bonnie Franklin as a single mother and Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips as her daughters. Lear and Yorkin created five top-ten shows in the 1974-1975 season.

Because of his business success, Lear could communicate his strong political ideas beyond the tiny screen. In 2000, he and a partner paid $8.14 million for a copy of the Declaration of Independence and sent it on a cross-country tour.

He was an ardent fundraiser to Democratic candidates and, he said, created the nonprofit leftist advocacy group People for the American Way in 1980 because preachers Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were “abusing religion.”

“I began to say, ‘This is not my America.'” “You don’t mix politics and religion like this,” Lear told Commonweal magazine in 1992.

Norman Lear, Producer Of TV’s ‘All In The Family’ And Influential Liberal Advocate, Has Died At 101

Svante Myrick, president of the organization, stated that “we are heartbroken” by Lear’s passing. “We extend our deepest sympathies to Norman’s wife Lyn and their entire family, and to the many people who, like us, loved Norman.”

The young Lear created television far into his 90s, recreating “One Day at a Time” for Netflix in 2017 and investigating wealth inequality for the documentary series “America Divided” in 2016. Documentaries such as “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” in 2016 and “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” 2017 focused on active nonagenarians such as Lear and Rob Reiner’s father, Carl Reiner.

He was hailed as the “innovative writer who brought realism to television” when he was admitted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1984. He was eventually awarded the National Medal of Arts and honored at the Kennedy Center. He won an Emmy in 2020 for his work as executive producer for “Live In Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All In the Family’ and ‘Good Times.'”

In the early 1950s, Lear began writing for shows such as “The Colgate Comedy Hour” and for performers such as Martha Raye and George Gobel. Tandem Productions, which he co-founded with Yorkin in 1959, produced pictures such as “Come Blow Your Horn,” “Start the Revolution Without Me,” and “Divorce American Style.” Lear also directed the parody “Cold Turkey,” starring Dick Van Dyke, about a tiny community that accepts a tobacco company’s offer of $25 million in exchange for quitting smoking for 30 days.

In his later years, Lear collaborated with Warren Buffett and James E. Burke to establish The Business Enterprise Trust, which honors corporations that consider their long-term impact on the country. He also established the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, which investigated entertainment, economics, and society, and spent time at his Vermont home. In 2014, he released his autobiography, “Even This I Get to Experience.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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2024 OSCARS: Everything You Need To Know About This Year’s Oscars

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NEW YORK — After a winter of award events, including the Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys, the granddaddy of them all, the Academy Awards, is just around the horizon. The 96th Academy Awards may be a coronation for “Oppenheimer,” which leads with 13 nominations, but other films, including “Barbie,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and “Poor Things,” are also in the running.

Here’s what you should know about this year’s show:

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When are the Oscars?

The Oscars will be on Sunday, March 10, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The event will begin at 7 p.m. EDT, one hour earlier than normal, and will be live on ABC. The pre-show will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT. This is an early reminder to set your clocks – the first day of daylight saving time in the United States.

Are the Oscars livestreamed?
You can access the show on ABC.com and the ABC app with a cable subscription. You may also watch on Hulu Live, YouTube, AT&T, and FuboTV.

Who is hosting the Oscars?
Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the ceremony last year, will serve as emcee for the fourth time. That matches him with fellow four-timers Whoopi Goldberg and Jack Lemmon, leaving Kimmel trailing only Johnny Carson (five), Billy Crystal (nine), and Bob Hope (eleven) among Oscar hosts. “I always dreamed of hosting the Oscars exactly four times,” Kimmel told the audience.

What films are nominated for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars?
The ten best-picture nominees are: “American Fiction,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” “Barbie,” “The Holdovers,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Maestro,” “Oppenheimer,” “Past Lives,” “Poor Things,” and “The Zone of Interest.”

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Who are the favourites?

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is the front-runner. Nolan, the best director favourite, is expected to win his first Oscar. The best actress category could be a close call between Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Emma Stone (“Poor Things”). If Gladstone wins, she will be the first Native American to win an Oscar. Best actor might also be a tight call between Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”) and Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”). They would be first-time winners. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Giamatti’s co-star, is the favourite to win Best supporting actress, while Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”) is predicted to win Best Supporting Actor. Ryan Gosling is his closest competitor for “Barbie.”

What’s with the ‘Barbie’ snubs?
While “Barbie,” 2023’s largest box-office blockbuster, received eight nominations, much of the conversation has focused on the film’s lack of nominations. Greta Gerwig was not nominated for directing, while Margot Robbie did not win best actress. Some have detected reflections of the misogyny spoofed in “Barbie,” while others have noted comedians’ traditionally poor reception at the Oscars. The nominations for “Barbie” include best-adapted screenplay (by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach), best supporting actress (America Ferrera), and two best song nominees: Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For” and Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt’s “I’m Just Ken.”

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Are there any changes to this year’s Oscars?

Though prior Oscars have been marred by slaps, envelope snafus, and debates about which prizes are presented live during the ceremony, this year’s show promises to remain relatively unchanged. All of the awards will be broadcast live. The academy is introducing a new award for best casting, but the trophy will be handed in at the 2026 Oscars.

What else is there to look for?
Composer John Williams has been nominated for his record 49th best-score Oscar for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and 54th overall. Godzilla is making his Oscar debut, with “Godzilla Minus One” nominated for outstanding visual effects. Two non-English language films are nominated for Best Picture for the first time: the German-language Auschwitz drama “The Zone of Interest” and the French courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Beatles To Get A Fab 4 Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

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NEW YORK — The Beatles are receiving the big-screen biography treatment in not just one film but four, with each band member getting his spotlight – all directed by Sam Mendes.

For the first time, the Beatles, traditionally among the most stingy rights holders, are granting complete life and music rights to a film project. Sony Pictures revealed Monday a contract that may dwarf all previous music biopics, with the story of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr divided across four films.

The Mendes-conceived films are intended to be released theatrically in a unique manner, with the films coexisting or intersecting in theatres. Specific release plans will be communicated at a later date. Sony has set a release date of 2027.

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

McCartney, Starr, and the families of John Lennon and George Harrison have all approved the initiative through the band’s Apple Corps. Ltd. Sony Music Publishing has rights to the majority of Beatles’ songs.

“I’m honoured to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies,” Mendes stated in an e-mail.

Each film will be told from the perspective of one of the Beatles.

“We intend this to be a uniquely thrilling and epic cinematic experience: four films, told from four different perspectives, which tell a single story about the most celebrated band of all time,” stated Pippa Harris, the film’s producer. “To have The Beatles’ and Apple Corps’ blessing to do this is an immense privilege.”

The Beatles’ most well-known film appearances were during their early career. From 1964 to 1970, they appeared in five films, including “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) and the animated “Yellow Submarine” (1968). They have, of course, been the subject of numerous documentaries, most recently Peter Jackson’s 2021 “The Beatles: Get Back.”

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

The Beatles reunited in 2023 using artificial intelligence in the newly released song “Now and Then.” The track was made feasible by technology employed by Jackson on “Get Back,” it included a music video directed by the New Zealand director.

Attempts to dramatise the Beatles’ narrative have been intermittent and less effective. A 1979 biography titled “The Birth of the Beatles” was developed while Lennon was still alive, with the Beatles’ original drummer, Pete Best, serving as an adviser. The 1994 indie drama “Backbeat” followed Lennon’s connection with Stuart Sutcliffe before the Beatles became famous. Aaron Taylor-Johnson portrayed a teenage Lennon in the 2009 “Nowhere Boy” film.

However, music biopics have become a lucrative business in the last decade. Box-office successes like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Rocketman,” and “Elvis” have prompted Hollywood executives to seek the next jukebox blockbuster. Over Presidents Day weekend, “Bob Marley: One Love,” co-produced with the Marley estate, was the top-grossing film in theatres. A Michael Jackson biopic is currently under production.

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

“Theatrical film events today must be culturally significant. “Sam’s daring, large-scale idea is that and more,” said Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group.

The combination of Mendes’ crew “with the music and stories of four young men who changed the world, will rock audiences all over the globe,” Rothman added. “We are deeply grateful to all parties and look forward ourselves to breaking some rules with Sam’s uniquely artistic vision.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel For Tricking Him Into Making Videos To Ridicule Him

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NEW YORK — Former United States Representative George Santos said in a complaint filed Saturday that late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel duped him into creating films on the Cameo app that were used to mock the disgraced New York Republican on the show.

Kimmel, ABC, and Walt Disney Co. are named as defendants in the action filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. A Disney staffer was identified as a media contact for the Jimmy Kimmel Live! The show has yet to respond to an email from The Associated Press requesting comment.

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George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel For Tricking Him Into Making Videos To Ridicule Him

George, who was ejected from the House of Representatives last year after being charged with numerous counts of fraud and stealing from contributors, is suing for alleged copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.

Kimmel misrepresented himself to persuade George to create personalised videos “capitalising on and ridiculing” his “gregarious personality,” according to the lawsuit.

Individuals and corporations contacted Santos via Cameo to request personalised video messages. According to the complaint, Kimmel made at least 14 requests using fictitious identities and storylines, which Santos was unaware of.

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George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel For Tricking Him Into Making Videos To Ridicule Him

According to the claim, the films began playing on a segment titled “Will Santos Say It?” in December.

In one of the videos, Santos congratulates the alleged winner of a beef-eating contest, praising the achievement of eating 6 pounds (2.7 kilogrammes) of loose ground beef in under 30 minutes as “amazing and impressive.”

“Frankly, Kimmel’s fake requests were amusing, but what he did was a clear violation of copyright law,” said Robert Fantone, an attorney for George, in an email.

Santos is seeking $750,000 in statutory damages for the five videos he generated that were featured on the show and numerous social media sites. He also requests that other damages be established at trial.

santos

George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel For Tricking Him Into Making Videos To Ridicule Him

The former senator is facing a raft of criminal charges, including allegations that he cheated campaign donors, lied to Congress about his wealth, took unemployment benefits while employed, and used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses such as designer apparel. He is also accused of making unauthorised payments on credit cards belonging to several benefactors.

George pleaded not guilty to an amended indictment in October.

On Tuesday, Democrat Tom Suozzi won a special election to fill Santos’ previous seat.

SOURCE – (AP)

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