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Happy Birthday Norman

Sunday, July 31, 2016

When I think of all the people I admire, Norman Lear is at the top of the list.

Known as the creator of Archie Bunker and All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, Maude and Good Times among others. His movie credits include “Divorce American Style”, “Fried Green Tomatoes”, “Stand By Me” and “The Princess Bride”.

Norman recently turned 90 and I talked to him about longevity and staying in the game. I asked him how long he would like to live, and he answered, “If you gave me a contract guaranteeing that I would live to 106 I’m not sure I would accept it. I want to live as long as they’ll let me.” 

His smile and his personality are inspiring. As an iconoclast and a liberal, he doesn’t hesitate to answer frankly. When asked his opinion of the proliferation of reality shows in television, he answered that he only watched enough to know that he didn’t care for them. He said, “I really don’t watch them.”

As to what advice he would give an actor or writer who’s just starting out in the business today, he answered, “I have two pieces of advice for writers. One: Write, because writers have a way of talking about it for a long time before they start writing. The other I borrow from George S. Kaufman, who told the writer: ‘If you have a hole in the plot that you must live with, don’t sweep it under the rug – hang a lantern on it’. I think this is a good lesson in life too.”

I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk to this man I’ve admired for so long, and glad he continues to “stay in the game”. 

Spencer Thornton, MD
Biosyntrx President / Chief Medical Officer