R.I.P. SHERMAN HEMSLEY
The great Sherman Hemsley, who played the awesomely innappropriate George Jefferson on “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” died Tuesday at 74. For the first few years on “All in the Family,” George Jefferson was not seen, only referred to by his wife, Louise, played by the late Isabel Sanford. Jefferson was every bit as big a bigot as his neighbor, Archie Bunker, played by Carroll O’Connor.
He was also rude and condescending to his neighbors, his son Lionel and, to his maid. But his character was still wildly popular with TV audiences. “By me loving Louise and Archie loving (his wife) Edith, you got away with being goofy and stupid,” he said in 2003.
“I thought Sherman was doing very well,” said Marla Gibbs, who played feisty maid Florence Johnston on the “The Jeffersons.” “I am saddened to hear that Sherman has made his transition.
“Sherman was one of the most generous co-stars I have ever worked with. He happily set me up so that I could slam him, and I did the same for him. I shall miss him deeply.”
Hemsley said he drew on his experiences as a young man to develop Jefferson’s celebrated strut, which he did during filming as a joke.
“The way we walked in South Philly, you think you bad,” he said. “You gotta be important.
“We had done about seven or eight takes (on the ‘Jeffersons’ set) … and then we started clowning around,” he said of the walk. “That’s the one they kept.” Hemsley also played Deacon Ernest Frye in the sitcom “Amen.” “With the passing of Sherman Hemsley, the world loses one of its most unique comedic talents, and a lovely man,” Norman Lear, the creator of “All in the Family,” said in a statement.
For me The Jefferson’s was one of the first show’s that really reflected what I saw around me, somewhere between Sanford and Son and the Cosby’s. My folks and the people around me were “moving on up” (or trying to..) and hustling and integrating. And it wasn’t always comfortable. We weren’t garbage collectors, but believe me we weren’t the Huxtables either. The character of George Jefferson was the first time as a kid I was able to see that it was ok to be an angry black man, to be flawed and to have faults… if somewhere in there was someone who was working on it, who loved deeply underneath the smart mouth, and most important who had a healthy appreciation for laughter even if it was sometimes directed back at him. And then there was that head high, arm back, tupac out-of-court, little-big man walk. That was a character, a statement, a show all of its own. In my heart of hearts, I know that somewhere in the sky, Sherman Hemsley is strutting his trademark walk into heaven, and Isabel Sanford is shaking her head with a huge smile on her face and holding the door for her old friend who made magic for me every weekday at 7/9 Central… R.I.P
After a long 4 years of seeking justice for the death of her family members, today justice was served. Chicago’s Cook County Judge Charles Burns handed down three consecutive life sentences for the murders and 120 years for the additional felonies of home invasion and aggravated kidnapping. William Balfour’s life sentence comes with no option of parole.
Jennifer, her sister Julia and her slain nephew Julian’s father Gregory were all in the courtroom at the time of the sentencing today, and were tearful as this chapter came to a close.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Balfour had the audacity to give a statement to the court saying:
My condolences go out to the family. My deepest sympathies go to Julian King. I loved him. I still love him.” The judge didn’t take kindly to this statement and rebutted:
“The fact that you can stand in court and tell us you love that child is an insult to all of us. There’s no doubt in my mind he looked up to you as you were putting bullets into his head. I just hope his terror was short-lived.”
If today is your birthday you share it with the following celebs..
D.B. Woodside – 43 (President Wayne Palmer on “24”.)
Matt LeBlanc – 45 (He’s currently playing a fictionalized version of himself in “Episodes” on Showtime . . . for which he’s already won a Golden Globe and been nominated for an Emmy.)
Iman – 57 Supermodel
Verdine White – 61 (bassisst for Earth, Wind & Fire.)