Jimmy Kimmel Tears Up in Emotional Tribute to Norman Lear

Jimmy Kimmel Tears Up in Emotional Tribute to Norman Lear

Jimmy Kimmel offered a deeply heartfelt tribute to the late Norman Lear, revealing a hilariously filthy exchange he once shared with the comedy great. 

Standing solo on his dimly-lit stage during his opening remarks on Wednesday’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel somberly told the camera that he wanted to address Lear’s death “before we start the show and before the audience comes into our theater.” 

Lear, an Emmy-winning producer, writer and creator of such iconic TV shows as All in the Family, The JeffersonsGood Times and One Day at a Timedied on Tuesday. He was 101.

Kimmel described Lear as “one of the most important and impressive people I ever had the pleasure of meeting,” declaring that “he changed situation comedy in the best way possible.” 

“He taught us so much about so many serious things, always making us laugh while he did it,” Kimmel continued. “Everyone who works in or even watches television owes him a great debt, especially me. I was fortunate enough to work with Norman on several projects over the last five years including live revivals of some of his greatest shows and I loved him dearly.”

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The 56-year-old late-night host revealed that he and his wife, Molly McNearey, had sent Lear a holiday gift in the form of a sweatshirt that read “Norman F**king Lear” on it in recent years. Lear, he said, sent back a thank you note.

“He said, ‘Dear Molly and Jimmy, I can’t f**king believe this f**king sweatshirt. It’s something I’ve always wanted more than I can f**king tell. You guys are the f**king best, and I wish you the dearest, sweetest, greatest f**king holiday season in the history of holiday f**king seasons.’ Signed, Norman F. Lear,” Kimmel read. “His middle name was Milton, so…” 

As he prepared to throw to commercial, Kimmel became teary while delivering a touching sendoff to his friend. 

“One of the many, many sweet things about Norman was he never said ‘Goodbye,'” Kimmel revealed. “He’d say, ‘To be continued,’ and ‘Over and next.’ And so that’s how we’ll leave it. ‘To be continued, over and next.'” 

On Tuesday, Lara Bergthold, a spokeswoman for the family, told ET in a statement that Lear died “after a lifetime of laughter” at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes.  A private service for immediate family will be held.

“Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. 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,” the statement read.

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Several Hollywood A-listers have raised their voices in remembrance of Lear, including Jennifer AnistonGeorge ClooneyTyler PerryJane Fonda and more. See the star-studded tributes in the video below. 

Lear is survived by his wife, Lyn Davis Lear; his six children — Ellen Lear, Kate Lear, Maggie Lear, Ben Lear, Madeline Lear, Brianna Lear; and his four grandchildren — Daniel, Noah, Griffin and Zoe.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, Lear requested that contributions be made to People For the American Way.  His family has requested privacy at this time.


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