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Sherman Helmsley, Actor Best Known As George Jefferson, Dies

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
July 24, 2012

Sherman Hemsley, who is best known as George Jefferson, the character he played on TV, has died, The Associated Press, TMZ, ABC and local media are reporting quoting the El Paso Sheriff’s office. Reuters confirmed the report citing the actor’s representative Todd Frank.

According to his IMDB biography, Hemsley was born on Feb. 1, 1938. He was an Air Force veteran and started his acting career in New York City.

His performance as George Jefferson, a character that he first played in All in the Family, earned him a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination.

Hemsley’s character was featured on NPR’s 2008 series “In Character.” Jeffrey Alexander Brathwaite wrote that as a young African-American in the ’70s, he didn’t have many role models.

“But in George Jefferson I witnessed weekly the fortitude and drive of a successful Black businessman,” Brathwaite wrote. “In a time where pimps and denim were all the rage, I marveled at this endearingly brazen Manhattan penthouse-dweller who owned a dry cleaning chain and had a preference for smart 3-piece suits.”

The Jeffersons ran for 11 seasons and ended in 1985.

People Magazine reports that Hemsley retired from acting after five years as Deacon Ernest Frye in NBC’s Amen.

“Although he retired from television acting, Hemsley joined [Isabel] Sanford through the late ’90s and early 2000′s to reprise their roles as George and Louise ‘Weezy’ Jefferson on guest spots,” People reports. “The duo appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and in commercials for Old Navy, Gap and Denny’s.”

Hemsley was 74. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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