New Norman Lear film explores life of pioneering TV writer-producer

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Norman Lear, who just turned 94, explained the movie's title "Just Another Version of You". (WLS)

A new documentary explores the remarkable life of TV writer-producer Norman Lear, who created pioneering comedies, including "All in the Family", "Sanford & Son" and "One Day at a Time."

Lear, who just turned 94, explained the movie's title "Just Another Version of You". The acclaimed film opens at Chicago's Music Box Theatre on Friday.

"We are one regardless of our color or ethnicity, backgrounds as human beings we are one. And then I thought, we're other versions of the one," Lear said. "People think turning 90, you change, but it's everybody else who changes. Suddenly I'm extremely wise and everybody's asking me for advice and I'm sometimes applauded for walking across a room."

"All in the Family", "Maude" and "The Jeffersons" are all part of the bold, groundbreaking Lear TV legacy.

"It's only when the actor - in this case, Carroll O'Connor - sits down and inhabits those words that this miracle occurs and gave us Archie Bunker. The fates have to conspire to assure your success," Lear said.

"Good Times" was set in a Chicago housing project.

"I invited two African American young writers who hadn't done anything but were available and interested," Lear said. "Not having grown up in the black community I didn't have the patina so they supplied the patina and the three of us supplied the rest.

Finally, Lear added: "If lifting weights or running can add time, God how laughter can add time. Remember you heard it here."

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