At 99, iconic producer Norman Lear doesn’t want to quit working. Can work help us all live longer?

Advertisement

At 99, iconic producer Norman Lear doesn’t want to quit working. Can work help us all live longer?

American producer, writer and director Norman Lear, creator of such iconic 1970s television characters as the bigoted blowhard Archie Bunker in the sitcom “All in the Family,” turns 100 in July.On Thursday, at an early celebration for Lear at the Life Itself conference, a health and wellness event presented in partnership with CNN, he told the audience his secrets to living to a ripe old age: Lox and bagels, the love of his family, laughter and a life of invigorating work.”I like getting up in the morning with something on my mind, something I can work on … to some conclusion,” Lear said.Over the last century, Lear has done it all. He was executive producer of the cult movie classics “The Princess Bride” and “Fried Green Tomatoes” and was nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay for “Divorce American Style.” His sitcom spinoffs of “All in the Family” dominated ’70s and ’80s television, tackling topics of racism, feminism and social inequalities no one had yet dared touch. His political advocacy even led to the establishment of the liberal political organization People for the American Way.Even in his 90s, a time when most people who live that long are lucky to be rocking on their front porch, Lear has never stopped working. Along with Jimmy Kimmel, a 95-year-old Lear produced and hosted three episodes of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” which won Primetime Emmy Awards in 2019 and 2020. The series used current stars such as Jamie Fox, Woody Harrelson and Viola Davis to re-create original episodes of “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family” and “Good Times.”In recent years, Lear and his business partner Brent Miller rebooted some of his ’70s sitcom successes, including “One Day at a Time.” They also have several movies and other projects in the works.One secret to his work longevity, Lear has said, is his attitude toward stress. During his ’70s sitcom heyday, Lear was juggling up to hit eight successful television series: “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at a Time,” “Archie Bunker’s Place” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”Yet in his 2014 book, “Even This I Get to Experience,” Lear wrote that period of his life was full of “joyful stress.””Even doing your best work and enjoying the results of that, there is a reasonable amount to a great amount of stress,” Lear told Variety last year. “And if one can learn to accept that joyfully, one can be stressed and understand that he or she is having a good time also. And so, I’ve enjoyed an awful lot of that through my career.”The science of stressResearch shows that stress can be good for you — especially if you share Lear’s attitude. Viewing stress as a normal, acceptable and even positive part of life can lead to resilience, and just like rock, paper, scissors … resilience covers stress.But does that mean everyone should follow Lear’s lead and work long past the traditional retirement age?”Research shows people who work longer are healthier and people who are healthier work longer. So, it’s really tempting to look at that correlation and be like, ‘Ah, this means that working longer will make you live longer.’ But it’s much more complicated,” said sociologist Beth Truesdale, a research fellow at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.”If you’re in a job where you have control over your working environment and can make choices that allow you to take care of your family, then you’re lucky, and in that case, job stress can be challenging but satisfying,” she said. “But for many people, especially those without college degrees, jobs are incredibly stressful because they have very little control.”

American producer, writer and director Norman Lear, creator of such iconic 1970s television characters as the bigoted blowhard Archie Bunker in the sitcom “All in the Family,” turns 100 in July.

On Thursday, at an early celebration for Lear at the Life Itself conference, a health and wellness event presented in partnership with CNN, he told the audience his secrets to living to a ripe old age: Lox and bagels, the love of his family, laughter and a life of invigorating work.

Advertisement

“I like getting up in the morning with something on my mind, something I can work on … to some conclusion,” Lear said.

Over the last century, Lear has done it all. He was executive producer of the cult movie classics “The Princess Bride” and “Fried Green Tomatoes” and was nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay for “Divorce American Style.” His sitcom spinoffs of “All in the Family” dominated ’70s and ’80s television, tackling topics of racism, feminism and social inequalities no one had yet dared touch. His political advocacy even led to the establishment of the liberal political organization People for the American Way.

Even in his 90s, a time when most people who live that long are lucky to be rocking on their front porch, Lear has never stopped working. Along with Jimmy Kimmel, a 95-year-old Lear produced and hosted three episodes of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” which won Primetime Emmy Awards in 2019 and 2020. The series used current stars such as Jamie Fox, Woody Harrelson and Viola Davis to re-create original episodes of “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family” and “Good Times.”

In recent years, Lear and his business partner Brent Miller rebooted some of his ’70s sitcom successes, including “One Day at a Time.” They also have several movies and other projects in the works.

One secret to his work longevity, Lear has said, is his attitude toward stress. During his ’70s sitcom heyday, Lear was juggling up to hit eight successful television series: “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at a Time,” “Archie Bunker’s Place” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”

Yet in his 2014 book, “Even This I Get to Experience,” Lear wrote that period of his life was full of “joyful stress.”

“Even doing your best work and enjoying the results of that, there is a reasonable amount to a great amount of stress,” Lear told Variety last year. “And if one can learn to accept that joyfully, one can be stressed and understand that he or she is having a good time also. And so, I’ve enjoyed an awful lot of that through my career.”

The science of stress

Research shows that stress can be good for you — especially if you share Lear’s attitude. Viewing stress as a normal, acceptable and even positive part of life can lead to resilience, and just like rock, paper, scissors … resilience covers stress.

But does that mean everyone should follow Lear’s lead and work long past the traditional retirement age?

“Research shows people who work longer are healthier and people who are healthier work longer. So, it’s really tempting to look at that correlation and be like, ‘Ah, this means that working longer will make you live longer.’ But it’s much more complicated,” said sociologist Beth Truesdale, a research fellow at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

“If you’re in a job where you have control over your working environment and can make choices that allow you to take care of your family, then you’re lucky, and in that case, job stress can be challenging but satisfying,” she said. “But for many people, especially those without college degrees, jobs are incredibly stressful because they have very little control.”

Contributed by local news sources

Next Post

North Korea test-fires missile amid signs of nuclear test

North Korea test-fired at least one unidentified ballistic missile toward the sea on Sunday, South Korea’s military said, extending a provocative streak in weapons demonstrations this year that U.S. and South Korean officials say may culminate with a nuclear test explosion.South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t immediately say where […]