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Tuesday, July 24, 2012
George Jefferson-Sherman Hemsley dead at 74
Hemsley played Jefferson for two years on “All in the Family,” from 1973-75, then starred opposite Isabel Sanford from 1975 to 1985 on their own spinoff, “The Jeffersons.” Isabel Sanford died in 2004 at age 86.
George Jefferson was not the first black character on television, but he remains one of the most indelible.
Because he first played in counterpoint to Archie Bunker, and because both had the exaggerated personalities of sitcom characters, George Jefferson shared many of Archie’s traits.
He was cranky, impatient and prone to speaking without thinking — though he was also more clever and calculating than Archie.