‘The Jeffersons’ Star Sherman Hemsley Dies
“The Jeffersons” star Sherman Hemsley has died at the age of 74.
The actor passed away at his home in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday…
Born in Philadelphia, Hemsley got his break in show business in the early 1970s, making his Broadway debut in a production of the play “Purlie.”
Bing video: Sherman Hemsley on ‘Jeffersons’
It was during his stage stint that he caught the eye of TV writer and producer Norman Lear, who reached out to Hemsley and asked him to star as George Jefferson in the sitcom “All in the Family.”
Hemsley was reluctant to quit the theater and held off on the role for two years before taking Lear up on the standing offer.
Although Jefferson was just a secondary character on the show, Hemsley’s comedic timing convinced Lear to develop a spin-off series titled “The Jeffersons” in 1975, allowing the actor to really shine on camera.
The program became one of Lear’s most successful projects and remains the longest-running sitcom with a predominantly black cast in U.S. TV history, airing from 1975 to 1985. […]
Sherman Hemsley, left, and Isabel Sanford in “The Jeffersons” (©CBS)