On Wednesday, July 27, Norman Lear celebrated his milestone 100th birthday!
The Hollywood writer and producer was born in New Haven, Connecticut on July 27, 1922. Since that time, he has produced, written, created, or developed over 100 shows. Lear is probably best known for many popular 1970s sitcoms, like All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, and Good Times.
In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Lear opened up about his Hollywood career and how he plans to celebrate his milestone birthday!
Norman Lear Celebrates Milestone 100th Birthday: ‘I Could Not Be More Grateful’
Norman Lear attributes a lot of his success to choosing his projects carefully. “I’ve never chosen anything to do that I didn’t wish to do,” he told the magazine. “My awards and accolades mean a great deal to me, but they don’t mean as much as the drive to the studio today. I still explode with joy, excitement, interest, and utter delight every time.”
In 2019, Lear became the oldest person to win an Emmy Award at age 97 for Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ And ‘The Jeffersons.’ However, despite his age, he has absolutely zero plans of slowing down.
For his birthday, Lear said, “I can’t wait to be at my home in Vermont and celebrate with my entire family – my wonderful wife, my six children, my two sons-in-law, and my four grandchildren. How lucky am I?”
Norman Lear Says Fatherhood Is His Greatest Accomplishment
Lear was married to Charlotte Lear from 1943 to 1947. He was married to Frances Lear from 1956 to 1986. He has been married to Lyn Lear, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and political activist, since 1987.
Although he has many accolades to his name, Norman Lear considers his family as his greatest accomplishment. “Truth to tell, certainly I’ve done nothing more important than father or child,” Lear said.
“Nothing more delicious than becoming a grandfather of a child as a result of having fathered a child,” he continued. “I don’t know that there’s anything more romantic in living than all of that.”
“My wife is her own individual and I fell in love with that individual,” he added. “And over those years I’ve only learned more about why I should have cared in the first place and continued to care in the following place. She is a sterling human being.”
He added, “I could not be more grateful for sitting here today.”
Fans & Famous Friends Wish The Hollywood Legend A Happy Birthday!
Happy 100th birthday @TheNormanLear you’re a true inspiration and I’m honored to be your friend. Bob would be SO damn happy for you today. Thrilled I got to give you some cigars to celebrate with. Love you! https://t.co/bFGBkpdk3B pic.twitter.com/j5fT9tQ31Y
— Kelly Rizzo (@EatTravelRock) July 27, 2022
Kelly Rizzo, the wife of late Full House star Bob Saget, took to Twitter to share a sweet snap of the two together. “Happy 100th birthday @TheNormanLear you’re a true inspiration and I’m honored to be your friend,” she tweeted. “Bob would be SO d— happy for you today. Thrilled I got to give you some cigars to celebrate with. Love you!”
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) July 27, 2022
Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel also shared a snap of the two smiling together. “Happy 100th birthday to (literally) my oldest friend @TheNormanLear,” he joked. “You are everything a man could hope to be and I am so lucky to know you. We demand another 100 years.”
Norman Lear just turned 100 years old. 100. You want to know the secret to a long healthy life? Be funny. Laugh every day. pic.twitter.com/gem8sXQ8OL
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) July 27, 2022
Writer and producer Larry Karaszewski also wished him a happy birthday, tweeting, “Norman Lear just turned 100 years old. 100. You want to know the secret to a long healthy life? Be funny. Laugh every day.”
Norman Lear, ladies & gents. 100 years if he’s a day. Cheers!
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) July 27, 2022
Better Call Saul actor Michael McKean also took to Twitter to celebrate his birthday, tweeting, “Norman Lear, ladies & gents. 100 years if he’s a day. Cheers!”
Happy 100th birthday to Norman Lear, seen here conducting business on the One Day at a Time set, as a young pup of 96.
Norman changed my life, but then again, who among us can’t say that?
Thank you Norman : ) pic.twitter.com/wZubykxW5X
— Mike Royce (@MikeRoyce) July 27, 2022
Writer Mike Royce also tweeted a photo of Norman Lear to celebrate his big day. “Happy 100th birthday to Norman Lear, seen here conducting business on the One Day at a Time set, as a young pup of 96,” he tweeted. “Norman changed my life, but then again, who among us can’t say that? Thank you, Norman.”