The actor, famous for "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons" and "Amen," has died. One obit is here. He was not only a good actor but a significant TV character -- a successful African-American businessman who was not servile, who freely expressed opinions (including some wrong ones) without fear, who overcame the many obstacles society put up because of race -- but never pretended those obstacles were no longer there. Hemsley himself was a warier sort, especially around the press. But he had the knack of portraying all of George Jefferson's qualities in contentious racial times -- while still making the audience love him.
This came in from TV Land later today:
TV Land will honor the life and work of comedic actor Sherman Hemsley with a four-hour marathon of his memorable episodes of “The Jeffersons” on Saturday, July 28th from 12pm-4pm ET/PT. Hemsley, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 74, is beloved for his portrayal of George Jefferson on the groundbreaking Norman Lear sitcom. The TV Land Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tvland) will also pay tribute to Hemsley, celebrating some of his greatest moments on television.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sherman Hemsley,” said Larry W. Jones, President, TV Land. “Sherman was part of the TV Land family and his many contributions to television will be treasured. He will be sorely missed.”