Norman and Lyn Lear on How to Stay Married in Hollywood

When Norman and Lyn Lear were first considering marriage, actuarial tables weren't far from their minds. The pair fell in love when the thrice-­divorced Norman was 64 and Lyn was "39 and a half," as Norman would tell friends, a winking effort to nudge her closer to the less scandalous age of 40. "We were so in love at the time," says Lyn. "We would say to each other, 'Oh, we can only have 15 good years together.' " Norman chimes in, "But why not get married for 15 good years?" Thanks to Norman's remarkable health it has been 34 years; he seems mystified by his longevity. "Ninety-nine," he muses, shaking his head. "Holy shit!"

One afternoon in Beverly Hills, the couple are seated on a terrace of their newly leased house. They recently sold their 15,000-square-foot Brentwood estate, a spread befitting the creator of All in the Family, a man who at one point in the 1970s was producing six of the top 10 series on TV. Lyn, a youthful 74-year-old blonde, sneaks morsels of cheese from a platter to a maltipoo tucked beside her.

A maid silently refills water glasses. Norman arrives in a wheelchair. He's smiling and wearing his signature white boating hat; having forgone haircuts during the pandemic, he has grown the first ponytail of his life. "One morning Lyn said, 'Let me try something,' and we fell in love with it," he says.