Jennifer Aniston has paid tribute to Norman Lear, who created iconic shows such as All in the Family and The Jeffersons after he died on December 5, 2023, at the age 101.
The Friends actress took to Instagram to share two moving photos who saw her embracing the TV icon and tenderly resting her hands on his face as the pair looked each other in the eye. In a moving tribute, Jennifer penned: “Norman Lear. His shows shaped my childhood and getting to know him was one of my greatest honors. He made such a difference. A huge impact on television and humanity.
“He was able to tackle and discuss heated political conversations during difficult and charged times and we were able to laugh and learn. I yearn for those days. When creativity was a learning tool and could inspire people to maybe think just a little bit differently. And of course to laugh. Our greatest source of healing.”
Jennifer continued: “He was the kindest and gentlest man. When you were in his presence, you were the only one in the room. He made everyone feel this. Even when someone believed differently than him. That’s what made life and people interesting to him. To have discussions and really take in how people felt and hear their point of view. He knew how to give voice to all sides and somehow in the process bring people closer together.
“May we take a page from Norman’s playbook as a way of honoring his life. An extraordinary life. Rest in peace Norman. It was a gift to stand in your light.”
Her fans were quick to share their support with the actress, as one commented: “So sorry for your loss Mama! He was a legend,” and a second said: “He was certainly a legend. He lived very well, now he will rest in the clouds in a good place.”
Norman’s death comes just months after Jennifer lost her Friends co-star Matthew Perry who died at the age of 54 after being found unresponsive in his hot tub.
In tribute to her co-star and friend, the actress shared a multi-picture post, which included a black-and-white photo of the pair behind-the-scenes and a text exchanged between the duo sharing how much they made each other laugh. Jennifer also included a clip from the show’s last-ever episode where the pair’s characters, Chandler and Rachel, said goodbye to each other.
Addressing his death, Jennifer said: “”Oh boy this one has cut deep… Having to say goodbye to our Matty has been an insane wave of emotions that I’ve never experienced before.
“We all experience loss at some point in our lives. Loss of life or loss of love. Being able to really SIT in this grief allows you to feel the moments of joy and gratitude for having loved someone that deep. And we loved him deeply. He was such a part of our DNA. We were always the 6 of us. This was a chosen family that forever changed the course of who we were and what our path was going to be.”
She continued: “For Matty, he KNEW he loved to make people laugh. As he said himself, if he didn’t hear the ‘laugh’ he thought he was going to die. His life literally depended on it. And boy did he succeed in doing just that. He made all of us laugh. And laugh hard. In the last couple weeks, I’ve been pouring over our texts to one another. Laughing and crying then laughing again.
“I’ll keep them forever and ever. I found one text that he sent me out of nowhere one day. It says it all. (See the second slide…) Matty, I love you so much and I know you are now completely at peace and out of any pain. I talk to you every day… sometimes I can almost hear you saying ‘could you BE any crazier?’ Rest little brother.You always made my day…”