Norman Lear Becomes Oldest Emmy Winner Ever With ‘Live In Front Of A Studio Audience’ Variety Special Prize


Tonight at the Creative Arts Emmys, Norman Lear, 97, became the oldest Emmy winner in history with a victory in the category of Outstanding Variety Special (Live) for Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In the Family’ And ‘The Jeffersons.’

“Thank you, thank you, and holy sh*t,” laughed Lear, who executive produced and wrote the special. “I got a great reaction, saying that when opening a Christmas present when I was seven years old. It’s 90 years later, and I feel much the same.”

Calling the project “one of the greatest things that ever happened to me,” the television icon gave much of the credit for the win to fellow executive producer Jimmy Kimmel, who was the driving force behind the project.

“It was all Jimmy Kimmel’s idea,” he said, while also thanking “all the farmers and the ranchers across the globe that have nourished me for all these years, and gotten me here tonight.”

Backstage, Lear and Kimmel talked about the next installment in the Live in Front of a Studio Audience franchise, which ABC in August picked up for two more outings — a live holiday special later this year, as well as another special in spring 2020.

“We are going to do [a special] again. In fact, in December, we’re going to do something,” Kimmel said backstage. “We haven’t revealed specifically what shows we’re going to do, but we are going to do it again on ABC in December.”

Lear beat out Our Planet narrator Sir David Attenborough for the title of oldest Emmy winner when the results of the evening’s final category, Outstanding Variety Special (Live), came in. Earlier in the night, Attenborough, who is 93, won a second consecutive Outstanding Narrator Emmy, this time for Our Planet. Last year, he became the oldest Emmy winner with his victory in the same category for Blue Planet II. 

A TV icon, Lear is a 15-time Emmy nominee with five statuettes to his name. Live in Front of a Studio Audience was a one-night-only event, which enlisted all-star casts to perform episodes of Lear’s iconic sitcoms, All in the Family and The Jeffersons. While Live in Front of a Studio Audience was nominated for three Emmys, its only win tonight was for Outstanding Variety Special (Live).

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