Norman Lear’s cause of death released

The cause of death for pioneering television producer Norman Lear has been released.

The Emmy-winning US screenwriter and TV producer behind more than 100 shows died at home in Los Angeles on 5 December aged 101.

His death certificate, seen by TMZ, lists his official cause of death as cardiac arrest. It also identifies congestive heart failure as an underlying cause of death.

In a statement shared with Variety at the time of his passing, Lear’s family said that Lear had died of natural causes. “Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather,” they said.

“Norman lived a life of creativity, tenacity, and empathy. He deeply loved our country and spent a lifetime helping to preserve its founding ideals of justice and equality for all. Knowing and loving him has been the greatest of gifts. We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being.”

A private funeral service was held for Lear’s immediate family.

Jerry Lewis (left), Ed Simmons (centre), Norman Lear (background right) and Ernie Glucksman at work on ‘The Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Show’ in New York in 1951.

(AP Photo/Robert Kradin, File)

Lear was best known for creating and producing many of the biggest sitcoms of the Seventies, as well as his position as an outspoken liberal activist. In addition to All in the Family, he worked on Sanford and Son, Maude, The Jeffersons and Good Times.

Born in Connecticut in 1922, Lear served in the army in the Second World War and began a career in publicity soon after. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he discovered the local theatre scene and began writing sketches with Ed Simmons, an aspiring writer and the husband of Lear’s cousin.

Together, Lear and Simmons wrote for Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis for the Colgate Comedy Hour. Further writing roles came along in the Fifties and Sixties, and Lear earned his first Oscar nomination for the 1967 comedy Divorce American Style starring Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds.

In 1971, his signature production, CBS sitcom All in the Family, first aired. Loosely based on Sixties BBC sitcom Till Death Do Us Part, the show featured storylines about racism, feminism and the Vietnam War, while also drawing upon Lear’s childhood memories of his tempestuous father.

Married three times, Lear is survived by his third wife Lyn Davis, six children and four grandchildren.