Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award on Sunday’s Golden Globes, and imparted some wisdom on longevity as he prepares to celebrate his 99th birthday this year.
“At close to 99, I can tell you that I have never lived alone,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I have never laughed alone and that has as much to do with my being here today as anything else I know.”
Lear said “there would be an entirely different Norman Lear tonight” without the help of partners throughout his career including Ed Simmons, Bud Yorkin, Alan Horn, Jerry Perenchio and Mark E. Pollack, as well as his current partner overseeing Act III Prods., Brent Miller. Lear also gave thanks to various writers, including “One Day at a Time” executive producers Gloria Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce, as well as his wife of 30 years, Lyn Davis Lear, and his children – who range in age from 26 to 74.
And of course, he paid tribute to awards namesake Burnett, even impersonating the comedian’s famous ear tug. “I’m convinced laughter adds more to ones life and no one has made me laugh harder than Carol Burnett,” he said.
The TV legend is the third individual to receive the Carol Burnett Award at the Golden Globes following last year’s honoree, Ellen DeGeneres, and Burnett herself, who accepted the inaugural kudo named after her in 2019.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association created the Carol Burnett award to honor TV notables, as a companion to its film-centric Cecil B. DeMille Award — which this year went to Jane Fonda.
“He pushed every boundary in sight and wasn’t afraid to address the issues of the day,” host Amy Poehler said in introducing the Carol Burnett Award segment.
Lear remains active in the entertainment business with business partner Miller. Both of them just announced two projects in development at Amazon’s IMDb TV: “Clean Slate” (starring Laverne Cox and comedian George Wallace) and “Lotería.” They’re also working on a reboot of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” from “Schitt’s Creek” star Emily Hampshire and “Letterkenny” executive producer Jacob Tierney. The project is through Act III’s first-look overall deal with Sony Pictures TV, where the pair are also producing an animated take on “Good Times,” along with Steph Curry’s production company and Seth MacFarlane, for Netflix — which gave the show a 10-episode order.
Lear and Miller won two Primetime Emmys in 2019 and 2020 for “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” their specials with Jimmy Kimmel. They’re also behind the feature documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. And they produced Heidi Ewing’s “I Carry You With Me,” which opens May 21 in theaters through Sony Pictures Classics.
In a recent interview and podcast with Variety, Lear repeated his experience in the 1970s of the “joyful stress” of being so busy: “Even doing your best work and enjoying the results of that, there is a reasonable amount to a great amount of stress,” Lear tells Variety. “And if one can learn to accept that joyfully, one can be stressed and understand that he or she is having a good time also. And so, I’ve enjoyed an awful lot of that through my career.”