Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson
We all know him as Archie Bunker’s black neighbor, George Jefferson. Like Archie, Jefferson was opinionated, bigoted, and just as narrow-minded, but the two had their differences. George was much more clever with his comebacks, and quicker on his feet than Archie. Hemsley began his spin-off series The Jeffersons in 1975. The series ran an astonishing 10 years.
Sherman was born on February 1, 1938. Despite being outspoken and opinionated on television, Hemsley was a very shy and quiet man. He kept his personal life extremely personal and did not want his privacy invaded. He made his best efforts to keep out of the limelight. Very little is revealed about Hemsley and the only thing the public knows – besides that he never stopped working as an actor – is that he was never married or had children. Hemsley died in 2012 of complications of lung cancer. He was 74 years old.
Isabel Sanford as Louise Jefferson
Isabel Sanford was born on August 29, 1917. She had always aspired to be an actress. Sanford was leaving her husband when she and her three children made their way to California. She immediately attracted attention for her acting and comedic skills and landed roles in multiple films, including the award-winning Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? After catching the eye of producer Norman Lear, she was cast for the role of Louise “Weezy” Jefferson, wife of George Jefferson and mother of Lionel Jefferson.
Following her role on All in the Family and The Jeffersons, Sanford continued to make guest appearances on television. Sanford had preventative surgery on her carotid artery in 2003. She was hospitalized in 2004 and died six months before her 87th birthday.