Courtesy of Matt Stoller

Norman Lear b. 1922

Producer Norman Lear's television sitcom All in the Family first aired in 1971 and went on to win several Emmy Awards and become the highest-rated TV show for the next five years. Lear followed that smash with other landmarks, including Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude. Lear, who early on wrote for the Martin and Lewis Colgate Comedy Hour, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1967 for writing Divorce, American Style. He founded People for the American Way, a civil-liberties advocacy group, in 1981, and in 1999 he won the National Medal of Arts.