In an age where “The Cosby Show” was still years away, Sherman Hemsley became a positive role model for African Americans. His “George Jefferson” may have been a blow heart, but he overcame and as the song went “Moved on up to the East Side” to show African Americans that anyone can work toward that dream and make it a reality. Hemsley was also an accomplished singer and performed on Broadway in the show “Purlie”
First turning down Norman Lear so he could continue on Broadway, Hemsley finally took the role that would make him a cultural icon. Starring with the lovely Isabel Sanford, he coined the nickname “Weezy” from a girl that he had a crush on in school. “Weezy and George ” captured America’s hearts on “All in the Family”
One of the most popular shows of the late seventies was the spin off from “All in the Family” . “The Jeffersons” was a success story since George was now rich and moved from blue collar Queens to Manhattan’s East Side . George now had to put up with Lionel’s interracial in laws and an insolent maid.
Sherman ‘s next series was called “Amen” . He played Ernest Frye, a deacon of a church in Philadelphia. Ernest wasn’t exactly the most honest man in the world and often used the church in his harebrained schemes. He had a daughter who lusted after the hot young preacher of the church.
Sherman made many guest appearances on the “Fresh Prince” , most notably in the last episode as “George Jefferson” He and Weezy were looking to buy the Banks mansion. He will be fondly remembered and sympathy to his family tonight .