Actor Sherman Hemsley Dead At 74
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Jul 24, 2012 - 12:27:29 PM
EL PASO, TEXAS—Actor Sherman Hemsley died in his home in El Paso, Texas on Tuesday, July 24. Hemsley was best known for his role in "The Jeffersons" as George Jefferson.
Sherman Hemsley with "The Jeffersons" co-star Isabel Sanford
Hemsley did a number of stage productions after he joined Vinnette Carroll's Urban Arts Company such as "But Never Jam Today," "The Lottery," "Old Judge Mose Is Dead," "Moon on a Rainbow Shawl," "Step Lively Boys," "Croesus" and "The Witch." He made his Broadway debut in the 1970s with the play "Purlie" as the character Gitlow and toured with the show for over a year.
While touring for "Purlie," Hemsley received a call from Norman Lear and was offered a role in the new sitcom "All In The Family" as George Jefferson. He was reluctant to leave his stage career in 1971, however, Lear promised Hemsley that he would leave the spot open for him. Hemsley eventually joined the cast in 1973. Merely two years after he debuted on the show, a spin-off series was created for his character titled "The Jeffersons." The show proved to be successful as it ran for 11 seasons through 1985.
After "The Jeffersons," Hemsley joined the cast of NBC's "Amen" until the show ended its fifth and final season in 1986. He was mostly retired from television acting roles in the late 90's and early 2000s, although he did a number of recurring guest roles on programs such as "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Sister, Sister" as well as a number of commercials.
Hemsley was not married and did not have any children. As of press time, the cause of death is unknown.
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