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RIP Sherman Hemsley

RIP Sherman Hemsley

Star of stage and screen, Sherman Hemsley, has reportedly died this afternoon, in his El Paso, TX home.

The actor is likely most famous for his roles as George Jefferson on the CBS TV series All in the Family and The Jeffersons (a spin-off of All in the Family, on which the Jeffersons had been the neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker), and as Deacon Ernest Frye on the NBC series Amen.

The Jeffersons received 11 Emmy Award nominations during its 10-year run. Sherman Hemsley was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, each year from 1981 through 1985.

The series holds the record as the longest-running sitcom with a predominantly Black cast in the history of American television.

Before his TV career, Hemsley studied with the Negro Ensemble Company, and would eventually make his Broadway debut in Purlie in 1971, and toured with the show for a year. It was while on tour with Purlie that Norman Lear called him to play the role of George Jefferson on his then burgeoning new sitcom, All in the Family.

And the rest, as they say, is history. 

After Amen ended its 5-season original run, Hemsley slowed down quite a bit, appearing mostly in bit parts on other TV sitcoms and in movies.

He worked heavily during an era that saw a wave of successful sitcoms on TV in the 1980s and 1990s which featured entirely or almost-entirely black casts.

The cause of his death is not public at the moment.

Hemsley was 74 years old.

RIP.

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