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Norman Lear lists 'Veep' and 'Transparent' among his favorite TV shows in this 'golden age'

Writer-producer Norman Lear (L) and co-founder and member

Writer-producer Norman Lear (L) and co-founder and member of the Board of the Environmental Media Association Lyn Lear attend the 2015 Sundance Institute Celebration Benefit at 3LABS on June 2, 2015 in Culver City, California. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jason Merritt

Norman Lear grew up a Yale football fan - selling "pennants and tchotchkes" outside the Yale Bowl before games - in part because he is from New Haven and in part because pro football was an afterthought in his youth.

"I go back a little ways," he said.

You could say that. The famed producer of several iconic 1970s sitcoms, including "All in the Family," is a month shy of his 93rd birthday.

But Lear's wits remain sharp, and he seemed to be enjoying a visit to Yankee Stadium on Thursday for an event at which the Green Sports Alliance honored the Yankees' environmental efforts. Lear's son-in-law, Daniel Katz, is on the Alliance's board of directors.

"I don't know whether I qualify as a Yankees fan, but I've been here," he said. "I saw Muhammad Ali fight here."

That was across the street in 1976, when Ali faced Ken Norton. Lear attended with the writer Budd Schulberg - for whom boxing was a favorite topic - and Ben Bradlee, executive editor of the Washington Post. (This was five months after the film "All the President's Men" was released.)

"We went with a police escort," Lear recalled.

Lear's sports-television watching these days mostly is restricted to major events, but he often is a fan of what he sees when he does tune in.

"It's magic how they do it," he said. "They don't get to script it, but they're following a script that couldn't be more exciting. If there were a way of encapsulating the feeling in a stadium when 40-, 50-, 60,000 people are feeling like brothers and sisters, like as one about the issue before them, wouldn't that be great?"

Lear considers this a "golden age" of television, saying, "It's so broad and so wide and there's so much." Among his favorite shows are "Veep" on HBO and "Transparent" on Amazon.

Did he ever revisit his old Yale Bowl haunt in 1973 or '74 to see the Giants play there? "No," he said. "I was making television shows. I was trying to be a good provider."


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