Show Business: King Lear

"I'm damned glad to be Norman Lear," says Norman Lear. "I'm having a helluva good time being me." But which Norman Lear? The creator of Archie Bunker, superbigot? The real-life Udall liberal? Lear the TV assembly-line vulgarian? Or Lear the audacious idea man who zaps taboos all the way to the top of the ratings?

With eight shows on the air, watched by an estimated 120 million Americans weekly, Lear is the most successful entrepreneur in the history of the medium. However, he considers himself "a writer, first and foremost," and is the most...

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