RIP Sherman Hemsley, ‘Jeffersons’ Star Dead at 74
Beloved actor Sherman Hemsley, best known as George Jefferson on the television series ‘The Jeffersons,’ has passed away at the age of 74.
According to People, police confirmed that Hemsley passed away in his El Paso, Texas home at the age of 74. A TMZ source also stated that the actor was found by his nurse, thinking he was asleep. She then called for help after realizing something was amiss.
Hemsley originated the role of George Jefferson on ‘All in the Family’ before moving on up to his own hit TV series. The actor was an Air Force veteran and former employee of the US Postal Service who took acting classes in the evenings before making his Broadway debut in ‘Purlie.’
A South Philadelphia native, Hemsley was approached by producer Norman Lear for the part of George Jefferson on ‘All in the Family,’ which led to expanding that role for ‘The Jeffersons,’ a show that earned him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations between 1984 and 1985. His ‘Jeffersons’ co-star Isabel Sanford passed away in 2004. The pair revisited their roles for ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and several memorable commercials for Gap, Old Navy and Denny’s restaurants.
Hemsley went on to star in the NBC series ‘Amen’ from 1986 to 1991, and was known for his singing voice just as much as his acting ability, releasing the single “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” in 1989 and an R&B album in 1992.