Sherman Hemsley Dead: Celebrities React to Jeffersons Actor's Death

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  • The stars of the popular television series "The Jeffersons" Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford (R) pose as they arrive for the premiere screening of the new television special "50 Years of Television" April 16, 1997 in Los Angeles at the Academy of Telvis
    (Photo: Reuters/Fred Prouser)
    The stars of the popular television series "The Jeffersons" Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford (R) pose as they arrive for the premiere screening of the new television special "50 Years of Television" April 16, 1997 in Los Angeles at the Academy of Telvision Arts and Sciences.
By Jim Gardner , Christian Post Contributor
July 24, 2012|7:11 pm

Sherman Hemsley, who played George Jefferson on "The Jeffersons," has died aged 74 on Tuesday, according to police.

Hemsley passed away at this home in El Paso, Texas, the police have confirmed. Immediately upon news of his death, celebrities and fans took to social media sites to reflect on the life of the star and to pay their respects.

"RIP sherman hemsley. #MovinOnUp to heaven now," tweeted "Transformers" star Josh Duhamel.

"RIP sherman hemsley!! I grew up watching the Jeffersons as many of us did & he along w/that cast will be one to be remembered. #RIPGeorge," wrote NFL star Terrell Owens.

"Rest in Peace (in a delux apartment in the sky), sherman hemsley," tweeted actress Alyssa Milano.

"God bless sherman hemsley BKA George Jefferson. He's gone to be with the Lord. He made me dream I could move on up. Truth," tweeted former NFL great Deion Sanders.

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"G'bye, sherman hemsley. Your George Jefferson was so beloved, it earned you your own successful sitcom! Huge bucket of win! Move on up, sir," wrote "Clerks" director Kevin Smith.

 "Wow. Sending LOVE," wrote Nicki Minaj.

"RIP sherman hemsley aka George Jefferson. rest peacefully in the de-luxe apartment in the sky," said hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

Hemsley was born in South Philadelphia and later dropped out of high school to sign up for the Air Force. He later was employed at the U.S. Postal Service, as he took acting classes at night. That finally led him to New York where he made his debut on Broadway in Purlie, playing the part of Gitlow.

Television writer and producer Norman Lear later signed him up to play Jefferson on his new sitcom "All in the Family."

Hemsley was so popular in that sitcom that he later was signed up for a spin off program with costar Isabel Sanford in "The Jeffersons." The sitcom was hugely popular and Hemsley was nominated for an Emmy in 1984 and a Golden Globe in 1985.

Another role Hemsley will be remembered for is as Deacon Ernest Frye in the NBC series, Amen, which lasted five seasons before finally concluding in 1991. Towards the end of the 80's Hemsley also showed off his musical talents, releasing a single on Sutra Record called "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" in 1989. Three years later he went on to release an R&B album entitled "Dance" in 1992.

Hemsley and Sanford reunited together in the late 1990's to continue in their roles as George and Louise "Weezy" Jefferson in special guest appearances; appearing on Will Smith's hit TV comedy program "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" as well as in commercials for Old Navy and Gap.

Sherman Hemsley died aged 74 departing without a wife or children.

 

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