Rob Reiner Remembers Norman Lear and ‘All in the Family’

Rob Reiner Remembers Norman Lear and ‘All in the Family’

Lear would stir the pot. “He would ask us to look into ourselves and what did we think, what were our feelings about this. And we poured it into the show. So it made the show better. And he did that with everything he did. Fearless.”

“This is the guy who — he flew 57 missions, bombing missions over Nazi Germany during the Second World War. And so he was scared enough in the sky,” Reiner said, adding that Lear was particularly disgusted by former President Donald Trump’s brand of politics. (“I don’t take the threat of authoritarianism lightly,” Lear wrote in The New York Times just last year.)

Reiner reflected on comparisons between Trump and Archie Bunker. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser who remains an influential figure in right-wing circles, has playfully compared Bunker to Trump, at one point saying, “Dude, he’s Archie Bunker.”

“I said, no, no, it’s not like Archie Bunker. Archie Bunker, he had conservative views and he certainly was racist and all those things, but he had a decent heart,” Reiner said. “You could argue with him. You could fight with him and stuff. You can’t do that now, and that’s the difference with him and Trump.”

But it was Lear’s convictions and his desire to demystify tough topics that Reiner hopes will endure in the memories of Americans. “I’m going to miss him for a million reasons. He showed me the way, which is, you can take your fame and celebrity and you can do something with it, do something positive with it. And I learned from him.”

“He always has hope. That’s what’s so great about him. He was a realist, but he also had hope that we would find the right path, and I still hope that we can,” Reiner went on. “He was a man who really cared about this country and wanted it to succeed and be a more perfect union and all that. And then we’re losing a guy, a real champion of America.”

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