AMERICAN MASTERS DIGITAL ARCHIVE - Norman Lear on Maya Angelou

Norman Lear – the television icon behind All In the Family, The Jeffersons, and Good Times – also had a close friendship with Dr. Maya Angelou, one of the most influential writers of the last century. In this clip, he shares his thoughts on Dr. Angelou’s legacy, her personality, and their friendship throughout the years.

To learn more about Dr. Angelou’s life and legacy, watch Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise on American Masters. You can also explore Norman Lear’s incredible work and get to know another American Master by watching Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.

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Maya Angelou was the grandest of the dames.

She was the grandest.

There's nobody else like her.

Maybe that's true of all of us, but she - she was spectacular.

If I was a student of Maya Angelou, it was because I was able to spend time with her and know her personally.

My kids, we spent some time at her home in North Carolina, but I remember so well dinners and afternoons and evenings there.

If she thought that they were being impolite to their parents, you know, she would call them on it.

'Madeline - that's no way to talk to your father.'

'Yes Dr. Angelou...godmother.'

They called her godmother.

Yeah, she liked being called godmother.

Her home was the only home I think I've everbeen to where race didn't exist.

It wasn't a Black person coming to dinner or a White person, it was a guest.

It was very unusual.

And maybe it's just me coming out of my generation that would think that.

But the fact is, it wasn't racial.

You know, she was a monument to herself andthere was only one Maya Angelou.

Anybody that hears this that saw her, let alone knew her, I would bet would agree with that.

You might think when she articulated, the way she articulated, that it came from some adopted place, but she was a queen.

She was royalty.

She was it.

And it came from deep within.