According to published reports, the iconic actor Sherman Hemsley (pictured) died in his home in El Paso, Texas on Tuesday. As NewsOne celebrates his legacy, here are eight facts you probably didn’t know.
1) Hemsley took acting classes at night, after working days at his local post office in Philadelphia, where he was born and raised. [Source:Wikipedia]
Want to Keep Up With NewsOne.com? LIKE Us On Facebook!
2) After Hemsley moved to New York City and joined the Negro Ensemble Company, he made his debut in the Broadway play Purlie in 1970 and toured with the production for a year. [Source:IMDB]
3) For two years, Hemsley played “George Jefferson” on the sitcom hit “All in the Family.” Hemsley soon got his own spin-off show, “The Jeffersons,” where he would continue to play the crotchety-but-lovable Jefferson for 10 more years. [Source:TV Land]
Watch Hemsley on “The Jeffersons” here:
4) In all of Hemsley’s 74 years, he never married nor had any children. [Source:TMZ]
5) Debuting in 1986 and lasting for five years, Hemsley played “Deacon Ernest Frye” in the NBC hit comedy “Amen.” On the show, “Frye” argued often with his assistant, “Rev. Reuben Gregory,” who was played by Clifton Davis. Daughter “Thelma Frye,” who was played by Anna Maria Horsford, added to the drama and comedy with her incessant attraction to “Rev. Gregory.” [Source:IMDB]
6) Hemsley and Isabel Sanford, who played his beloved wife on “The Jeffersons,” reprised their roles for Gap, Denny’s, and Old Navy commercials as well as for the show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” [Source:Wikipedia]
Watch Hemsley in a Total cereal commercial here:
7) Sanford wasn’t the only actress Hemsley reprised his “Jefferson” role with; in 2011, Hemsley and Marla Gibbs, who played “Florence Johnston,” reignited their chemistry for Tyler Perry‘s “House of Payne.”
8) In elementary school, Hemsley’s first role was in a fire prevention play, where he played the fire. Afterward, he caught the acting bug and his parents enrolled him in acting classes. [Source:Emmy TV Legends]