Norman Lear, Whose Comedies Changed the Face of TV, Is Dead at 101

As the producer of “All in the Family” and many other shows,

Matthew Lawrence, a spokesperson for the family, said the producer and screenwriter died of natural causes.

Lear was hailed for producing beloved television shows like All in the Family and The Jeffersons, political activist

A post on his Facebook page said that he was "surrounded by his family as we told stories and sang songs until the very end."

The families in Lear's shows had conversations about the real things that were going on in the 1970s.

Television worlds were simpler, nicer places, says Darnell Hunt, a leading scholar of racial representation on TV.

They had plot lines like: "I burnt the pot roast. What are we gonna do we don't have anything for dinner.

A talent show at school and I don't know how to dance." Then Lear's roster of hit '70s sitcoms revolutionized television.

He tackled everything from homophobia, sexism, racism, you name it." If you watched All in the Family,

You probably already have a sense of Lear's own family. Archie Bunker is reminiscent of Lear's own father,

Edith was based on his mother, Jeanette, and America knew Lear's ex-wife Frances as the character Maude.

Lear grew up in a Jewish family in Connecticut. "I was a kid of the Depression," Lear told NPR in 2012.

Lear dropped out of college & enlisted in the Air Force to fight in World War II. In his late 20s, he moved to Los Angeles

He struggled for several years  selling furniture door to door taking baby pictures Eventually, he talked his way into writing