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NORMAN LEAR - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 07/11/1984 - HFSID 270313

NORMAN LEAR TLS: "Norman", 2 pages, 8½x11, separate sheets. Universal City, California, 1984 July 11. On letterhead of Embassy Communications to comedienne and actress Phyllis Diller. Begins: "Dear Phyllis

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NORMAN LEAR
TLS: "Norman", 2 pages, 8½x11, separate sheets. Universal City, California, 1984 July 11. On letterhead of Embassy Communications to comedienne and actress Phyllis Diller. Begins: "Dear Phyllis". In full: "We had a wonderful turn out on June 17 for the launching of our Religious Liberty Project. I want to share with you our plans and ask for your support of our work. The Religious Right is stronger than every before in its resolve to use our government to further its political agenda for America. Attempts to enact a government mandated school prayer amendment are but one recent example of the ultrafundamentalists' efforts to impose sectarian religious dogma in our lives. PEOPLE FOR took major leadership role in this important debate. PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY's Religious Liberty Project will address an alarming new threat to religious freedom and the separation of church and state. The office of the Presidency is being used to further the notion that a particular group of Americans be accorded special standing because they practice a particular religion. We believe that the sudden uses of religiosity by the White House, and the President's assumption of the role Evangelist-in-Chief, threatens to turn narrow, religious dogma into official public policy. I am so alarmed by the 'religification' of the Presidency that I have shared my concerns with President Reagan. I have enclosed copies of our correspondence. I hope you will read them carefully because our message of diversity and tolerance needs to be communicated to thousands of Americans. Through PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY's Religious Liberty Project, we plan to launch: * a national petition campaign to the President * an ad campaign with two minute spots on the importance of church/state separation - to be produced by Academy Award winning producer, Charles Guggenheim * a print ad campaign to place advertisements in the nation's leading opinion newspapers and magazines * a thirty minute documentary for television and for use in every school in the country This important effort can only happen if special friends like yourself take a leadership role in launching our campaign. I hope you will join those who support PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY's Religious Liberty Project. Sincerely". Enclosures not present. A renowned supporter of liberal causes, Lear founded People for the American Way in 1980, the year he switched his party affiliation to Republican and endorsed John Anderson for President over incumbent President Jimmy Carter, whose administration Lear considered a "complete disaster". Four months after this letter, Carter's successor, President Ronald Reagan, would be elected to a second term in office. In 1984, Lear was the executive producer of the made-for-TV movie, Heartsounds, and the short-lived television series, a.k.a. Pablo (1984). He also appeared in an episode of This is Your Life honoring Isabel Sanford, who had appeared in two of his series, All in the Family (recurring role as Louise Jefferson, 1971-1975, 1979), and one of its spin-offs, The Jeffersons (1975-1985). Known for his ground-breaking situation comedies that often focused on controversial issues, NORMAN LEAR (born in 1922) was the executive producer of such series as Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, Hot L Baltimore, One Day at a Time and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman in addition to All in the Family and The Jeffersons. He has also produced films, including Come Blow Your Horn (1963), The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), The Princess Bride (1987, executive producer) and Fried Green Tomatoes (1991, executive producer). Lear has also written episodes for some of his productions, directed several series, and made guest appearances on several television shows, including providing the voice of Benjamin Franklin on South Park (2003). In 1984, Comedienne PHYLLIS DILLER (1917-2012), known for her outrageous appearance, zany outfits, distinctive laugh and a stand-up act that featured frequent references to her fictional husband, "Fang", and zingers about her sex appeal and numerous plastic surgeries, got her big break in March 1955 (at age 37), when she debuted at San Francisco's Purple Onion club. A subsequent appearance on The Tonight Show hosted by Jack Paar launched her national career, which got a big boost after Bob Hope saw Diller in a Washington, D.C. club. A favorite of the comedian, Diller would appear in three of Hope's films and 23 of his TV specials. Diller, who recorded her first comedy record album in 1959, took her groundbreaking "funny hausfrau" act to nightclubs and television variety shows and specials and she also appeared on the big screen. Her feature film credits include Splendor in the Grass (1961), The Fat Spy (1966), Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966), The Sunshine Boys (1975) and The Silence of the Hams (1994), and she provided the voice of the Queen in A Bug's Life (1998). By 2000, the comedienne, who had trained as a concert pianist before her marriage (1939-1965) to Sherwood Anderson Diller, had appeared as a piano soloist with 100 symphony orchestras across the U.S. Despite retiring from nightclub/stage tours in May 2002 at the age of 84, Diller continued to make films (Motorcross Kids, 2004; Forget About It, 2005) and occasionally appear on TV programs, including two episodes of 7th Heaven (2002, 2003) and a guest shot on The Wayne Brady Show (2004). Lightly creased with folds, upper horizontal fold at the upper loop of the "N". Shaded on first page (all type legible). Staple holes at upper left blank corners. Overall, fine condition.

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