Written by | Ray Cornelius
Some of TV’s most iconic actors came out last night to salute the man who helped launch their careers and changed the face of television forever. I am talking about none other than legendary producer and content creator Norman Lear.
He was in Atlanta Monday evening for an all-star tribute to his phenomenal career as well as the promotion of his new book Even This I Get to Experience and the 40th Anniversary of The Jeffersons, one of the longest-running sitcoms in American television history.
The event took place at Morehouse College and was attended by Usher, Kim Fields, Jasmine Guy, Brad James, Keshia Knight Pullman and Terri J. Vaughn. Veteran actress and star of The Jeffersons Marla Gibbs aka “Florence” was also there to pay homage to her long-time friend along with her daughter and fellow actress Angela Gibbs. Famed casting director Reuben Cannon was also present as well as Terrell Whitley of Liquid Soul Media and Bart Phillips of Sunseeker Media.
The event opened with a hip-hop version of The Jeffersons’ theme song, “Movin’ On Up” performed by D.R.E.S the BEATnik and then into an intimate conversation between Mr. Lear and Dr. Stephanie Dunn. She is an Assistant English Professor at Morehouse’s new Cinema Television and Emerging Media Studies program and specializes in film, African-American cultural studies and and literature.
Mr. Lear is one of the most recognizable names in television history and was responsible for producing and creating such groundbreaking sitcoms like All In The Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, Goodtimes, Maude, What’s Happening, 227 and many more. At one point in his career, he had nine shows on television at the same time.
Throughout the conversation, the 93-year-old talked about the memorable characters he created, some of the behind-the-scenes drama on the shows and why he chose to write storylines based on such taboo subjects as race, politics, sexuality and religion. In addition to the conversation, the audience got a chance to see snippets of Lear’s most memorable “Jeffersons” episodes as well as re-enactments of a few other landmark episodes performed by Morehouse College students and the actors in attendance.
Check out more photos below:
Even This I Get to Experience is Norman Lears’ new book
Usher talking about the impact TV had on his childhood
Marla Gibbs re-anacting her character “Florence” with Terri J. Vaughn
Kim Fields and her mother Chip Fields both worked with Mr. Lear
Atlanta actor Ali Amin Carter with filmmaker Julie Dash
Angela and Marla Gibbs
Usher getting his book signed by Mr. Lear
Terrell Whitley, Kim Fields, Christopher Morgan and Bart Phillips
Morehouse College President John Wilson and wife with actor Brad James
Mr. Lear signed books afterwards
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com