Almost three decades after the series finale of The Jeffersons, Sherman Hemsley has finally moved up to his deluxe apartment in the sky.
The legendary TV star was found dead in his El Paso, Texas home earlier today. The police are attributing the 74-year-old actor's passing to natural causes, which is obviously quite understandable for a man of Hemsley's advancing age.
Born in Philadephia, Sherman Hemsley began acting on the stage in the early '70's, where he starred in Broadway plays. In 1973, television stardom came calling, as Hemsley began portraying the supporting character of George Jefferson on the popular sitcom All In The Family. Jefferson was a neighbor to Caroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker, and often served as the African-American counterpart to Bunker's brash, abrasive, and often outright bigoted tendencies. Relations between the two characters did eventually mellow though.
In 1975, George Jefferson and family found themselves moving on up to their own spin-off series, simply entitled The Jeffersons. The tremendous popularity of the series raised Hemsley to the level of TV royalty, and ran for eleven successful seasons, before ending in 1985. Hemsley didn't fade away afterward, returning to TV comedy the following year. "Amen" centered around Deacon Ernest Frye (Hemsley), who often found himself getting into trouble as a result of his elaborate schemes. That show remained on the air for five seasons, ending in 1991.
Outside of the aforementioned sitcoms, Hemsley made many memorable guest or recurring appearances on other programs, including the 80's Twilight Zone, Dinosaurs, Lois & Clark, Family Matters, Martin, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Sister Sister, The Hughleys, Family Guy, and most recently Tyler Perry's House Of Payne.
Sherman Hemsley's forty plus year career generated many memories for TV fans, and Hemsley's work will undoubtedly live on for countless decades in re-runs and on DVD boxsets.
Sherman Hemsley, 1938-2012