Norman Lear's Wife Breaks Silence After TV Legend's Death at 101: 'He Would Want Us to Laugh'

"He would not have wanted all of us to mourn," Lyn Lear said in a statement that was read at the 2023 Sentinel Awards

<p>Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images</p> Lyn and Normal Lear attended Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images

Lyn and Normal Lear attended Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Lyn Lear is reminding creatives her late husband, Norman Lear, would want the best for them.

After the television pioneer died Wednesday at the age of 101, he was honored hours later at the 2023 Sentinel Awards. Lyn, 76, did not attend the event but sent a statement to be read by Marty Kaplan, the founding director of the Norman Lear Center.

“I would have been there tonight if not for the passing of our beloved Norman,” she said. “He was so proud of the work of The Lear Center and Hollywood Health and Society. And he would not have wanted all of us to mourn. He would want us to celebrate the important shows you are honoring tonight, and most of all ... he would want us to laugh.”

Related: Norman Lear's Career in Photos

<p>Lyn Lear and Norman Lear</p> Lyn and Normal Lear

Lyn Lear and Norman Lear

Lyn and Normal Lear

Throughout the evening, designed to honor incredible storytellers and the impact they make, others spoke about Norman’s legacy. Kaplan honored the All in the Family creator with his own statement. "Norman's shows moved our hearts and minds to embrace our common humanity and live up to what's best in us. Doing that is why these winning writers are being honored,” he said.

Emmy-winning producer, comedian, actor and writer Larry Wilmore addressed the tangible loss in the television community. “Well you got to say this about Norman — the man knew how to make an exit. He knew his audience, And wanted us to make sure we were all listening,” he said. “A giant has left us and we’re going to do him proud. This evening meant a lot to Norman because he believed television can reflect our best. That’s why the Sentinel Awards were created — to honor television’s best and brightest writing.”

Related: Rob Reiner, George Clooney, Tyler Perry and More Pay Tribute to Norman Lear After His Death: We 'Lost a Titan'

<p>Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty Images</p> Norman and Lyn Lear in 1989.

Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

Norman and Lyn Lear in 1989.

Hollywood, Health & Society program director Kate Folb added, “They say never to meet your heroes because you might be disappointed. Not so when I met Norman. He was everything I imagined and so much more. I feel so blessed to have been a very small part of his massive universe.”

Norman died Wednesday of natural causes, according to a release by his team. His television legacies included the creation of All in the Family, which broached social and political issues deemed controversial at the time. Lear's other notable shows include Maude, Good Times, Sanford and Son and Fernwood 2 Night.

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In lieu of flowers or gifts, Lear's representatives say he requested contributions be made to People For the American Way.

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