Actor Sherman Hemsley at the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards in Hollywood, Calif., March 7, 2004. Hemsley died on July 24, 2012 at the age of 74. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
EL PASO, Texas -- Sherman Hemsley, the beloved comic actor who made George Jefferson of The Jeffersons a TV icon and a household name, has reportedly died at age 74, according to TMZ. Hemsley died in his current home in El Paso, Texas.
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Hemsley first played the role of Jefferson on 1970s staple All in the Family (which was also produced by Norman Lear). The character became so popular it spurned a spin-off series which ran for an at-the-time unprecedented 1o seasons (1975-1985) and was consistently one of the highest rated sitcoms on television. The show broke barriers by portraying an upper class black family, who in the words of the show's classic theme song had "moved on up" to a deluxe apartment in an affluent part of New York City.
Following his success on The Jeffersons, Hemsley had another hit with the 1980s sitcom Amen, on which he played the duplicitous Deacon Frye. He also turned in memorable performances in the Broadway musical Purlie and in guest spots on shows such as Family Matters, Me and the Boys, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He also voiced the gruff Triceratops/bossman B.P. Richfield on the puppet-filled sitcom The Dinosaurs from 1991 to 1994.
Sherman Hemsley was born February 1, 1938, in Philadelphia. He never married and has no children but he will be remembered fondly by millions of television fans.