The TV legend follows last year’s honoree, Ellen DeGeneres, and Burnett herself, who accepted the inaugural kudo named after her in 2019. Lear will accept the award during the Golden Globes telecast on Feb. 28, although the logistics of the show (and how he’ll receive the honor in these COVID-distanced times) have yet to be revealed.
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, as previously announced, will go to Jane Fonda.
“Norman Lear is among the most prolific creators of this generation,” said HFPA President Ali Sar. “His career has encompassed both the Golden Age and Streaming Era, throughout which his progressive approach addressing controversial topics through humor prompted a cultural shift that allowed social and political issues to be reflected in television. His work revolutionized the industry and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is honored to name him as the 2021 Carol Burnett Award recipient.”
The Carol Burnett Award is chosen by the HFPA board of directors “to an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the screen.”
In the case of Lear, that’s an understatement. As the producer of landmark series like “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at a Time,” “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and more, Lear is still lauded today for his ability to mix comedy and storytelling with social and political comentary and messaging.
The World War II veteran is a 2017 Kennedy Center Honoree, recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999, Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2016 and was a part of the inaugural group of inductees to the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984. He has won six Primetime Emmy Awards, most recently last year for ABC’s “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” making him the oldest Emmy winner of all time.
As a philanthropist and social advocate, Lear formed the People for the American Way in 1980 and has worked with dozens of other organizations over the year. He’s currently the chairman of his ACT III Productions, in which he served as an executive producer on the reimagined version of “One Day at a Time” that ran on Netflix and later, Pop TV.
Even at 98, Lear is as busy as ever: Upcoming, he’s an executive producer on the feature “I Carry You With Me,” as well as an animated reimagining of “Good Times” coming to Netflix in 2021 and “American Masters” documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” which premieres at Sundance this week.
Amy Thurlow, President of Dick Clark Prods., and Barry Adelman, executive VP of television at Dick Clark Prods. are executive producers on the Golden Globe Awards, produced by Dick Clark Prods. in association with the HFPA. The 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air Sunday, Feb. 28, at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET live on NBC.