Norman Lear’s Wife, Lyn Lear, Says TV Icon ‘Would Want Us to Laugh’ After His Death at 101

The film producer made her first public statement on her husband’s passing Wednesday at the 2023 Sentinel Awards

Norman Lear and Lyn Lear attend the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Los Angeles
Norman Lear and Lyn Lear attend the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Los Angeles (Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Lyn Lear briefly honored her late husband, TV icon Norman Lear, at the 2023 Sentinel Awards Wednesday night, one day after his death at age 101.

In a prewritten message read aloud by the Norman Lear Center program director Marty Kaplan, Lyn Lear expressed grace and admiration for her husband’s incredible life and legacy.

“I would have been there tonight if not for the passing of our beloved Norman. He was so proud of the work of The Lear Center and Hollywood Health and Society,” she said. “And he would not have wanted all of us to mourn. He would want us to celebrate the important shows you are honoring tonight, and most of all … he would want us to laugh.”

The 2023 Sentinel Awards, presented by the Hollywood, Health & Society at the Norman Lear Center, continued to honor the work of the Center’s namesake founder throughout the evening with Emmy-winning producer, comedian and writer Larry Wilmore hosting at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.

“Well you got to say this about Norman — the man knew how to make an exit. He knew his audience. And wanted us to make sure we were all listening,” Wilmore said Wednesday.

Wilmore later added: “A giant has left us and we’re going to do him proud. This evening meant a lot to Norman because he believed television can reflect our best. That’s why the Sentinel Awards were created — to honor television’s best and brightest writing.”

The Sentinel Awards have for over 20 years “recognized exemplary achievements in TV storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives,” according to its mission statement. Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the Norman Lear Center, present the awards annually. The Center was founded nearly 25 years ago and continues to focus on academic research on the social impact of media and entertainment.

Among the winners at this year’s Sentinel Awards were writers Damon Lindelof and Tara Hernandez for “Mrs. Davis,” Taffy Brodesser-Akner for “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” Zoanne Clack and Zaiver Sinnett for “Station 19” and Liz Tigelaar for “Tiny Beautiful Things.” For more information on the ceremony and the organization at large, visit hollywoodhealthandsociety.org.

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