Norman Lear to Be Saluted at Oscar Wilde Awards (Exclusive)

Getty Images
Norman Lear

He'll receive an "honorary Irishman" prize at the Feb. 6 event in Santa Monica.

Norman Lear is not Irish — neither was Archie Bunker, apparently — but that won't stop him from being honored at the 15th annual Oscar Wilde Awards.

The legendary producer of such shows as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times and Maude will be feted as an "honorary Irishman" at the Feb. 6 event held at Bad Robot in Santa Monica, it was announced Tuesday.

Lear, 97, was born in New Haven, Conn., and had his bar mitzvah in 1935.

"As our nonprofit organization is all about shedding old stereotypes and being inclusive, I was particularly struck by Mr. Lear's refusal to make his most famous character, Archie Bunker, Irish," Trina Vargo, founder and president of the US-Ireland Alliance, which stages the event, noted in a statement.

"Bunker was portrayed by Irish American actor Carroll O'Connor. In his autobiography, Mr. Lear writes that he was advised by many to go with O'Carroll's look and to make Archie Irish and Catholic. But Mr. Lear wrote that he 'refused to pin the bigot in Archie on any specific ethnicity or religion, so we never went there.' Mr. Lear was ahead of his time then and worth heeding today."

A five-time Emmy winner and founder of the advocacy group People for the American Way, the always busy Lear now serves as executive producer on the reimagining of One Day at a Time, and with Jimmy Kimmel, on the Live in Front of a Studio Audience specials at ABC.

James L. Brooks, Paul Rudd, James Corden, Michelle Williams, Zachary Quinto and Glenn Close were previously honored as "honorary Irish" at the Oscar Wilde Awards.

Comedian Tig Notaro and actress Jenn Murray also will be saluted alongside Lear at the bash hosted by J.J. Abrams.

The Rua, a family pop-rock band from Windsor, England, will perform for invitees. Billboard has described their sound as a mix between Taylor Swift’s Red album, The Corrs and The Cranberries.

The Rau — Roseanna (lead vocals, guitar), Alanna (piano, vocals) and Jonathan Brown (violin, vocals, guitar) — took their name inspired by Irish and Hebrew influences. They toured as the main opening act for the Irish group Westlife on a sold-out U.K. and Ireland arena tour last year.