Norman Lear smiling at the camera

Norman Lear has done as much as anyone in this organization to shape our culture—Archie Bunker and All in the Family was a watershed moment in the history of television. Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons–you’ve probably spent many many hours in his company.

He’s also been a tireless champion for progressive change, and for its history–in the 1990s he bought one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, and then arranged for it to be exhibited across the country.

Norman lear on voting rights

He’s one of the inspirations for Third Act’s work on voting rights: read this remarkable essay, which begins with his account of flying bomber missions in World War II and depending on the African American flyers of the Tuskegee Airmen to keep him alive.

Norman will turn 100 later this year, which will be one heck of a celebration. In the meantime, he recorded this video to help us launch Third Act–if anyone knows about how to cast people, it’s him. And in this case it’s you he’s casting, for important supporting–even starring–roles in making change.

Key moments from Norman’s video:

Hi, I’m Norman Lear, and I guess you can say I’m in my third act. But as I think about that, I realize I’m 99, it surprises me to say. I’ll be 100 on my next birthday. And that feels like the fifth act. It certainly felt like it would be if I thought about turning 60 as a third act — this would be a fifth or sixth act. Whatever it is — it’s delicious and delightful, and I want it to continue.

And when I say I want it to continue, I’m thinking about my kids and my grandkids. I want America, including its climate (and my planet, including its climate) to include those voting rights that are so precious and that are threatened today. We’ve got to preserve the climate. And we’ve got to preserve the democracy that has loved us and cared for us for so long. Bless you all, and America.