Farewell to the Legendary New Englander Who Inspired a ‘Home Improvement’ Character
He's been gracing our televisions across the country for over 40 years, and whether you ever actually watched the show or not, most people have heard of "This Old House." It's the first-ever reality series and the true home improvement pioneer of the DIY (do it yourself) television genre, born right here in New England in Boston. Now, these shows are everywhere, especially on TLC.
Master Carpenter Norm Abram is bidding farewell after an incredible, award-winning career that garnered him a Lifetime Achievement Award for "This Old House." October 2022 will end this iconic, history-making career. The show won 20 Emmys.
Norm was born in Rhode Island, raised in the Boston suburb of Milton, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Norm is an icon in the DIY world, and one of the most popular, well-loved characters in sitcom history was based on him. I'm talking about "Al", played by Richard Karn on the award-winning comedy "Home Improvement" starring Tim Allen, which ran for 8 seasons on ABC.
Just like Richard's character, Al, Norm is known for his humility, common sense, trademark plaid shirt, and dedication to his craft. At the end of this article, I even included a montage of Al's funniest moments.
A TV creator asked Norm to build a barn in 1978, and after seeing his work, invited him to help restore a historic house in Dorchester, all while being filmed by a WGBH TV crew for a new series. “This Old House” was an instant success when it premiered in 1979.
Norm will be sent off with a one-hour tribute special, The House That Norm Built, premiering Monday, October 3 at 9pm EST on PBS and streaming on The Roku Channel. You can also stream it on the PBS app.
If you want to see some incredible photos and learn more, you can visit the This Old House website. It's a great journey.