Deaths | News | Television

'Jeffersons' Actor Sherman Hemsley Dead at 74

TV's George Jefferson, Sherman Hemsley, was found dead at his El Paso home today:

HemsleyThe cause of death was unclear but TMZ cited anonymous sources who said it appeared to be natural causes. TMZ said he was discovered by his nurse, who first thought he was sleeping.

Hemsley did not have a wife or children.

Hemsley, who first played George Jefferson on All in the Family, became a star with the successful spinoff The Jeffersons. He was among the small number of black actors who pioneered leading roles in successful sitcoms. He also played Deacon Ernest Frye on Amen.

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Comments

  1. He finally got a piece/ of the pie

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Jul 24, 2012 7:07:57 PM


  2. He finally got a piece/ of the pie

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Jul 24, 2012 7:08:02 PM


  3. Hate to hear that. RIP

    Posted by: dpbfeb | Jul 24, 2012 7:14:21 PM


  4. It's no secret that Hemsley was gay. Everyone in the entertainment business has known it for years, and he never hid his sexuality.

    Posted by: Paul in Honlulu | Jul 24, 2012 7:20:35 PM


  5. Well, here goes my Sherman Hemsley story.

    A law office I used to work for represented him. During that representation, we moved from the ground floor to - yep - the Penthouse. And the first time Sherman came up to our Penthouse office, the minute he walked in the door - 3 people on the staff spontaneously burst into the "Movin' On Up" song and, within seconds, everyone else in the office joined in. Sherman laughed his head off. One of my favorite office memories. RIP Mr. Hemsley.

    Posted by: Zlick | Jul 24, 2012 7:28:59 PM


  6. Sad to hear that he's moved on up to that deee-luxe apartment in the sky along with Weezy, Mother Jefferson, one of the Lionels, Tom and Helen Willis, and Mr Bentley...

    Posted by: JSH | Jul 24, 2012 7:52:36 PM


  7. I've seen him being interviewed a few times and he impressed me as being a warm, decent guy. R.I.P

    And is the references in the news to his being a life-long bachelor with no children a veiled reference about his sexual orientation?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 24, 2012 10:22:50 PM


  8. I KNOW MY FATHER IS UPSET; HE LOVES "George Jefferson."

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON | Jul 25, 2012 12:18:55 AM


  9. THANK YOU, "RATBASTARD."

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON | Jul 25, 2012 12:22:14 AM


  10. I've heard rumours about him being gay for years.I have a friend that said he met the guy that played the second Lionel (The one without the afro) in a gay bar,and they flirted with each other.I heard that Sherman was a much more quiet and reserved person than the characters he played on 'The Jeffersons'and 'Amen".R.I.P. Mr.Hemsley.The Jeffersons is and will always be one of my favorite shows.'

    Posted by: RJG | Jul 25, 2012 1:33:17 AM


  11. I had never (before now) heard any rumors about him being gay (or anything else). But to me TMZ''s wording is not sensible. Why not just tell us whether he was single or had a partner? To say that he "did not have a wife or children " only answers who his family WASN'T, rather than who they were.
    It is the rough equivalent of saying that he "did not have a short husband" (did he have a tall one?) or "did not have a daughter" or "did not have a cat" or "did not have a nephew."
    Tell us about his 7-foot tall husband or his son or his dog or his five nieces; don't just report cryptically about who he DIDN'T have.

    Posted by: Gregv | Jul 25, 2012 3:15:16 AM


  12. What's your proof, Paul in Honolulu?

    Posted by: CVP | Jul 25, 2012 3:54:32 AM


  13. I read years ago about his long-time live-in "male companion"....the actor who played "Willis" (Franklin Cover) was also gay, as is the 2nd "Lionel"...Once the straight public realizes we are everywhere, it will lead to more acceptance.

    Posted by: David | Jul 25, 2012 7:45:55 AM


  14. @DAVID, you know this for a fact? According to his bio, Mr. Cover was married with two kids. Unless you know something different?

    Posted by: FRED | Jul 25, 2012 11:40:57 AM


  15. He was gay, and though he was fairly open about it amongst friends, he never came out publicly. So the obit writers are forced to write things like 'he had no wife or children' so that we get some inkling that we have lost a wonderfully talented gay man who was loved by millions. A gay black man who the world should know was gay so that more hearts and minds might be changed. That's just one more reason why people, especially celebrities, should come out.

    Posted by: RIPSherman | Jul 25, 2012 12:39:02 PM


  16. George Jefferson was the black Archie Bunker and a much better character than many of the other black male leads in the 70's. The Jeffersons, Good Times and Sanford and Son were breakthrough shows that we have yet to see with gay characters, even after nearly 40 years. We are still in the equivalent of 60's TV with gay characters.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 25, 2012 2:15:02 PM


  17. Yes people. He was gay. I knew him for over 30 years. No he was not in the closet. No one ever asked.

    Posted by: Richard | Jul 25, 2012 6:01:13 PM


  18. Yes people. He was gay. I knew him for over 30 years. No he was not in the closet. No one ever asked.

    Posted by: Richard | Jul 25, 2012 6:01:15 PM


  19. Yes people. He was gay. I knew him for over 30 years. No he was not in the closet. No one ever asked.

    Posted by: Richard | Jul 25, 2012 6:01:16 PM


  20. I saw him with his white boyfiend in Miami 10 years ago

    Posted by: Jc | Jul 25, 2012 10:54:51 PM


  21. sad to hear that sherman heamsley deaf rip

    Posted by: patricia | Jul 25, 2012 11:06:31 PM


  22. I got to know Sherman Heamsley after numerous years of production on The Jeffersons. He was a good guy and and kept his private life respectful. He liked to introduce people and see what would happen plus he was very loyal to his friends. This man will be remembered by many for his talent which opened many minds via television and in person; for show casing his honest character. Sherman was a unique man who had lots to share and much to teach society.

    Posted by: Will Frazee | Jul 26, 2012 12:47:09 AM


  23. I'M SICK OF YOU GODDAMN FAGGOTS CLAIMING SOMEONE IS GAY AS SOON AS THEY PASS AWAY.

    Posted by: Sick and Tired | Aug 14, 2012 4:24:58 PM


  24. "I'M SICK OF YOU GODDAMN FAGGOTS CLAIMING SOMEONE IS GAY AS SOON AS THEY PASS AWAY."

    How long do you want us to wait?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 14, 2012 4:32:31 PM


  25. I dont care whether or not Mr. Hemsley was gay..... all that matters is that he was a great actor. rest in peace Mister Hemsley.

    Posted by: Mb | Aug 30, 2012 1:30:27 AM


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