Sherman Hemsley (1938-2012)

Actor Sherman Hemsley, best known for playing George Jefferson on All in the Family and its spin-off The Jeffersons, passed away today at the age of 74. Hemsley first played George Jefferson in a 1973 episode of All in the Family, during that show’s fourth season, and would ultimately make more than a dozen appearances on the show before The Jeffersons premiered in January 1975.

He would return to All in the Family twice, once in 1975 and again in 1978. The Jeffersons went off the air following the 1984-1985 season but Hemsley was soon back on television, starring in Amen, which ran from 1986 to 1991. Over the years, Hemsley would reprise his famous role of George Jefferson, most recently in a 2001 episode of House of Payne.

Here’s a promotional spot for the series premiere of The Jeffersons:

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Hemsley was interviewed in 2003 for the Archive of American Television. Obituaries can be found at Variety and The New York Times.


  • And so, Sherman Alexander Helmsley becomes the 7th original cast member of The Jeffersons to leave us, following Zara Cully, Roxie Roker, Franklin Cover, Mike Evans, Paul Benedict and Isabelle Sanford (who was about 20 years Helmsley’s senior!!). To absent friends…

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    This promo [Ernie Anderson, announcer] aired just before (and after) the series’ premiere in January 1975 (the scenes are from the “pilot” episode {“The Jeffersons Move Up”} featured on “ALL IN THE FAMILY” [1/11/75]).

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