Lenny Kravitz got the opportunity to thank Norman Lear for changing his life a few years before he died.
The legendary TV screenwriter and producer, who was best known for creating popular ’70s sitcoms, passed away on 5 December aged 101.
During a recent appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, the Fly Away musician declared that Lear “changed (his) life” by hiring his mother Roxie Roker for The Jeffersons.
Recalling an encounter with Lear, Kravitz said, “I saw him a few years ago at something and, you know, I grew up with him since I was kid, and I just stopped him and I said, ‘I just have to thank you because you changed my life. I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be standing here, if you hadn’t hired my mother.'”
Roker played Helen Willis, one half of the first interracial couple to be shown on regular primetime U.S. television, on The Jeffersons between 1975 and 1985.
Kravitz remembered how Lear warned his mother that her character would be married to a white man and she responded by revealing that the situation mirrored her real life.
“(Lear) met with her and he said, ‘You got the part.’ (He) sat with her and said, ‘Listen, you need to understand you’re going to be playing the wife of a white man and do you have any issue with that?'” he shared. “And she pulled out her wallet and pulled out a picture of my dad and said, ‘That’s my husband’ and (Lear) said, ‘See you Monday.'”
Roker and Kravitz relocated from New York to Los Angeles after the show got picked up to series and the singer’s father Sy Kravitz joined them later.