TV Writer Norman Lear Was Married for More Than 30 Years Before His Death at 101


Dec. 6 2023, Published 10:17 a.m. ET

Norman Lear at the 25th Critic's Choice Awards in 2020 with his wife, Lyn.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Prolific TV creator Norman Lear died at 101 and was married three times throughout his life.
  • Norman's marriages produced six children who range in age from 29 to 71.
  • Norman's family was very important to him, and his kids have been in the public eye to varying degrees.
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Perhaps the most prolific and important TV creator of the 20th century, Norman Lear lived a long and impressive life before his death at 101. Norman's death, which was announced on Dec. 6, 2023, has sparked a renewed interest in who he was both as a professional and as a person.

Among the things many were curious about related to Norman was his personal life, including whether he was married and had any children. Norman was married three times throughout his life, and two of his marriages lasted for several decades.

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Norman Lear with his son Ben at Ebertfest in 2017.
Source: Getty Images

Was Norman Lear married?

Norman was married three times throughout his life. His first marriage was to Charlotte Rosen, and the two got engaged when they were just teenagers. Norman said that they didn't have much in the way of common interests, and their marriage fell apart after just a few years together. Norman ultimately wanted to move to New York for his career, while Charlotte wanted to stay in Los Angeles.

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Following his divorce from Charlotte, Norman was married to Frances Loeb, the publisher of Lear's magazine, from 1956 to 1985. The two separated in 1983, and Frances eventually received $112 million from Norman in a divorce settlement.

Frances explained that she ultimately left Norman after she realized that she had been entirely consumed by their marriage and his career success.

Norman married Lyn, his wife at the time of his death, in 1987.

"My wife is her own individual and I fell in love with that," Norman explained to People. "She is a sterling human being. I love that she loves me."

Lyn is a documentary filmmaker who has been Emmy nominated, and she also supported Norman's constant drive to work, even well into the later years of his life.

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Who are Norman Lear's children?

Norman had six children throughout his life. His first child, Ellen, was born during his marriage to Charlotte. Ellen split her time between her mother and father while she was growing up.

Norman also had two children with Frances, Kate and Maggie, who are both public-facing on various levels.

Norman also had three children during his relationship with Lyn.

Ben was born in 1988, and Madelaine and Bernard are twins who were born in 1994.

Madelaine has stayed largely out of the spotlight, but did say that her dad places a huge emphasis on family.

"For him, family is everything," she said. "I have no doubt in my mind that he would skip the Oscars or some really important event to spend time with family.”

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