Sherman Hemsley of THE JEFFERSONS dead at 74

Sherman Hemsley of THE JEFFERSONS dead at 74

TMZ is reporting that Sherman Hemsley of the 70s sitcom THE JEFFERSONS has passed away.

Sherman Hemsley, the actor who made the character George Jefferson famous in “The Jeffersons,” has died, El Paso cops tell TMZ has learned.

Hemsley died at his home in El Paso, Texas. 

Hemsley gained national attention when he joined the Norman Lear show All in the Family in 1973; after two seasons, he became the star of his own spin-off, The Jeffersons, in which he co-starred with Isabel Sanford. Over the course of 11 seasons as George Jefferson, Hemsley starred in 253 episodes.

Hemsley had no wife and no kids.

It’s unclear how he died.

Born in South Philadelphia, Hemsley performed with several local groups in Philadelphia before moving to New York to make his Broadway debut as “Gitlow” in Purlie.

While touring with the production, television writer and producer Norman Lear contacted Hemsley to play the role of Jefferson on his new sitcom, “All in the Family”. Hemsley hesitated to accept but Lear held the role open for him and two years later, Hemsley joined the cast.

Less than two years after Hemsley made his television debut, he and “All in the Family” costar Isabel Sanford were given their own spin-off in “The Jeffersons”. The series earned Hemsley Emmy and Golden Globe nominations in 1984 and 1985 respectively.  Isabel Sanford died in 2004 at age 86.