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Tue, 02.01.1938

Sherman Hemsley, Actor born

Sherman Hemsley

*Sherman Hemsley was born on February this date in 1938. He was a Black actor.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sherman Alexander Hemsley was the son of William Hemsley, who worked at a printing press. His mother, a factory worker, worked at various factories during World War II. As a child, Hemsley was introduced to acting during school, where the teachers would ask students to play different characters. His first play was in school about fire prevention, and he played the fire. Hemsley eventually dropped out of school, joined the air force, and never considered acting as a profession until after the military.

After the military, Hemsley then moved to New York City; he worked as a post office clerk during the day and actor during the night. He then joined The Negro Ensemble Company (NEC), founded by Robert Hooks. His former co-star, Roxie Roker, was also part of the NEC alumni. NEC had workshops to help actors/actresses get roles in theater, television, and film. Hemsley made his professional acting debut on the Broadway play, Purlie and toured with the show for a year. In 1971, while on tour for the Purlie production, he received a call from producer/creator/writer Norman Lear. Norman Lear wanted Hemsley to audition for a role that was going to be a part of his sitcom, All In The Family. Due to Hemsley's Purlie project commitment, he declined the role. Lear left the role open for him; Hemsley joined the cast two years later.

Hemsley and co-star Isabel Sanford did a spin-off of the show All In The Family called The Jeffersons. Several spin-offs resulted from All In The Family, which the world saw as a comedic genius. Some shows spoke the hardcore truth about poverty, racism, discrimination, and other issues that had been condemning mankind. Despite the age difference between the two entertainers, Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford (twenty years apart), many described their on-screen marriage as unconditional and truly hilarious. Hemsley was nominated for a Golden Globe for his outstanding performance as George Jefferson. The Jeffersons turned out to be a success spanning out eleven seasons and ending in 1985.

In 1986 Hemsley joined the NBC sitcom Amen as religious deacon Ernest Frye. The show ran for five seasons ending in 1991. He then made his debut as a voice actor in a part of the ABC live-action-puppet series, Dinosaurs, as Bradley P. Richfield, Earl's cruel boss. The show ran successfully for four seasons. Sanford and Hemsley made television guest appearances on television programs such as The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and were in commercials for The Gap, Old Navy, and Denny's dry cleaning. Hemsley and Marla Gibbs guest starred in 2011 on the TBS hit show, House Of Payne.

Sherman Hemsley died in El Paso, TX, on July 24, 2012. He will be remembered as an actor who was on shows that addressed serious issues yet would still be remembered as an actor who brought laughter into families' homes.

To become an Actor or Actress.


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