Sherman Hemsley, most famous for his role as George Jefferson in the tv sitcom The Jeffersons has moved on up in the sky. The actor died at the age of 74 at his home in El Paso, TX from natural causes.
Hemsley died in his sleep and was discovered by his nurse who initially believed the actor was sleeping.
Hemsley played George Jefferson on the show Jeffersons along with his co-star Isabel Standford as his wife “Weezy”. Sanford passed away in 2004. “The Jeffersons” ran 10 seasons on CBS, from 1975 to 1985. The shows theme song “Movin On Up” embodied the success of the character George and the progression of black America in the film and tv industry, and would later become a nursery rhyme in the rapper Nelly’s debut single “Batter Up” released in 2008.
Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’
Just to get up that hill.
Now we’re up in the big leagues
Gettin’ our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it’s you and me baby
There ain’t nothin wrong with that.
Well we’re movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.
The Jefferson’s made Sherman a world-wide icon. Hemsley also starred in the 90′sTV show, Amen.
Hemsley was born and raised in South Philadelphia by a single mother who worked in a factory.
Failing to complete high school, Hemsley instead opted to serve is country for 4 years in the Air Force.
After his stint in the Air Force, he returned to Philadelphia where he worked for the Post Office during the day while attending acting school at night.
His first starring role was the character Gitlow in the early 1970s Broadway play Purlie.
Hemsley studied under Lloyd Richards at the Negro Ensemble Company and after appearing in Purlie, television producer Norman Lear called him to play the role of George Jefferson in The Jefferson’s. From there the character George Jefferson would be born, cementing Hemsley as a TV icon.
Hemsley had no wife and no kids. He however does leave a tv legacy behind. May he bring a smile to your face remembering his character and may his soul rest in peace.