Screen legends Jane Fonda and Norman Lear will be receiving honorary awards at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards airing live at 7pm CST on Sunday, February 28th on NBC. Kerry Washington, Ted Danson, Brie Larson and Laverne Cox will pay tribute to Fonda, who is this year's Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient, while Wanda Sykes, Marisa Tomei and Lin-Manuel Miranda will participate in the tribute package for Lear, who will receive the Carol Burnett Award. You can view excerpts of Fonda and Lear's virtual conversation moderated by NBC Correspondent Joe Fryer and held prior to the telecast below.
Fonda is a two-time Oscar-winning actress for 1971's “Klute” and 1978's “Coming Home,” a New York Times bestselling author, producer, activist and fitness guru. Her career has spanned over 50 years, accumulating a body of film work that includes over 45 films and crucial work on behalf of political causes such as women’s rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, fair wages for tipped workers and the environment. Demonstrating her commitment to preserving culture through the arts, Jane launched IndieCollect’s Jane Fonda Fund for Women Directors, an organization aimed to support the restoration of films helmed by women from around the world. She is a seven-time Golden Globe winner, Honorary Palme d’Or honoree, 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award winner and the 2019 recipient of the Stanley Kubrick Excellence in Film Award as part of BAFTA’s Britannia Awards.
Lear has had a dynamic career in television and film, and as a political and social activist and philanthropist. He is a World War II combat veteran, 2017 Kennedy Center Honoree, recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999, Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2016 and a proud member of the inaugural group of inductees to the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984. He career in television has earned him six Primetime Emmy Awards, and began in 1950 when he wrote and produced programs such as “The Colgate Comedy Hour” and “The Martha Raye Show.” He subsequently co-founded Tandem Productions, where he took on roles as executive producer, writer and director for more than two decades.
Lear was nominated for an Oscar in 1967 for his script for “Divorce American Style.” In 1970, CBS signed with Tandem to produce “All in the Family,” which earned four Emmys for Best Comedy Series, as well as the Peabody Award in 1977. “All in the Family” was followed by a succession of other television hit shows that include “Maude,” “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at a Time” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” Lear’s shows were nominated for and won many Golden Globe Awards.
In 2017, he became the first individual to receive the Ebert Humanitarian Award at Ebertfest, following a screening of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's documentary about him, "Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You" (click here to read our coverage).
"Norman is the greatest genius," said Fonda during their virtual interview. "In 'All of the Family,' he was the first to put social problems, social divisions on major mass culture. So that people began to question their racism, their xenophobia, their misogyny, while they were laughing. See, Norman understands. The great thing about laughter is your guard is down. And when your guard is down, new ideas can come through to you because you're not prepared. He allowed people to receive new and more progressive ideas while they were laughing. There's no greater gift than artists who can do that."
When asked what keeps Lear busy working, he replied, "There's no reason for it except appetite. You know, I've had as good a time in this business as anybody has ever had in any business ever I think in the history of humanity. And I love it. There is no greater spiritual experience than watching 200 people laugh when they come out of their seats and roll forward in a big laugh, belly laugh. And I love it. It's enhanced my life. Every minute of it."
The 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards airs live at 7pm CST on Sunday, February 28th on NBC. Check your local listings.