Norman Lear (b. 1922) is a television writer and producer best known for creating or developing many popular 1970s sitcoms, notably All in the Family. Lear's other series included The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times, and Sanford and Son (developed with Bud Yorkin). He founded People for the American Way and wrote and directed the 1971 film Cold Turkey (with Dick Van Dyke and Bob Newhart).

In 1982, Lear produced the TV special I Love Liberty, which featured appearances by Big Bird and the Muppets enacting a non-musical variation of 1776.

Muppet Mentions

Many of Lear's TV shows have referenced the Muppets. See All in the Family for more.

Good Times

  • In the fourth season episode "A Friend in Need" (1977), J.J. says that when Michael's friends come in, "the party turns from Soul Train to Sesame Street." When Thelma points to Michael making out with a girl, J.J. adds "Gonna have to start checking out Sesame Street some morning."
  • Debbie Allen played Diana Buchanan in " J.J.'s Fiancée" (two-part episode, 1978)
  • Roscoe Lee Browne played Reverend Sam in "God's Business Is Good Business" (1974)
  • Bill Cobbs played George Gillard in "Evans Versus Davis" (1976)
  • Tom Dunsmuir wrote "No More Mr. Nice Guy" (1978)
  • Conchata Ferrell played Miss Johnson in "Willona, the Fuzz" (1977)
  • Thad Mumford wrote the episodes "The Vistor" (1974) and "The Mural" (1975)
  • Austin Pendleton played Donald Hargrove in "The I.Q. Test" (1974)
  • Perry Rosemond directed the episode "Getting Up the Rent" (1974)
  • Dan Wilcox wrote "No More Mr. Nice Guy" (1978)


  • In the episode "The Case of the Broken Punch Bowl," Vivian flirts with a party guest by counting in a sexy voice and Carol says "It's like watching an x-rated Sesame Street!"
  • Paul Benedict played a minister in "All Psyched Out" (1975)
  • Roscoe Lee Browne played Mr. Butterfield in "Victoria's Boyfriend" (1977) and "Mr. Butterfield's Return" (1978)
  • James Coco played Dr. Channing McGrath in "Maude's New Friends" (1976)
  • Bernadette Peters played Kathy Griffith in "Rumpus in the Rumpus Room" (1975)

Sanford and Son

  • In the first season episode "TV or not TV," Fred Sanford watches a new TV set: "Never thought I'd live to see the day when I'd be watching Sesame Street in living color."
  • In the fourth season episode "Going Out of Business," Fred (holding a newspaper) says he's trying to read Wall Street. Lamont quips, "You mean Sesame Street."
  • Graham Brown played a principal in "Julio and Sister and Nephew" (1974)
  • Whitman Mayo played Grady Wilson (1973-1977)
  • Pat Morita played Ah Chew (1974-1975) and Colonel Hiakowa in "Sergeant Gork" (1976)
  • Roscoe Orman played Al Robinson in "Bank on This" (1975)
  • Matt Robinson wrote "The Over-the-Hill Gag" (1975)

One Day at a Time (2017)

  • In the season three episode "The Funeral," the family struggles to recall which aunt Ophelia was. It's asked if she is "the tia that always wears yellow" which they affectionately nicknamed "tia Big Bird."
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