The trophy will be presented by Bill Moyers at the 67th annual Writers Guild Awards in New York City on Feb. 14 at the Edison Ballroom.
Lear has been a WGA member since 1951. He began his career writing sketches for Jack Haley, Martin and Lewis, and Martha Raye, and created his first television series, “The Deputy,” a Western starring Henry Fonda, in 1959.
Lear’s iconic “All in the Family” debuted in 1971 and won four Emmy Awards for best comedy series, received a Peabody Award and was nominated for 11 WGA awards. Lear followed “All in the Family” with “Maude,” “The Jeffersons,” “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” “One Day at a Time” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”
He was nominated for an Oscar in 1967 for his screenplay “Divorce American Style.” His producing credits for feature films include “The Princess Bride,” Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Stand by Me.”
Lear formed People For the American Way in 1980. In 2000, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism launched the Norman Lear Center as a nonpartisan research and public policy center.
“Over several decades, the Writers Guild East has presented the Burkey Award to celebrate the achievements of leaders – in the arts or politics – who have advanced the causes of creativity and freedom of speech,” said WGA East president Michael Winship.”This year, by honoring Norman Lear, we choose a man who spans the worlds of both the arts and public affairs. Over his long career as a writer and producer, he has given audiences laughter that entertains and provokes. As a spokesman and advocate, he has been a forthright and resolute defender of civil liberty.”
The award was established in 1978 to honor Evelyn F. Burkey, who helped create the WGA East and served as its executive director until her retirement in 1972. Past recipients include James Schamus, Edward Albee, Walter Bernstein, Joan Didion, Claire Labine, Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Arthur Miller, Jacqueline Babbin and Walter Cronkite.