SHERMAN HEMSLEY: ACTOR WHO PLAYED GEORGE JEFFERSON DIES
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EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- He was brash enough to stand up to TV racists like Archie Bunker -- with a brand of racism born of a self-made African-American that knew if you made enough green, people wouldn't see black or white. And it was for that reason that the character played by Sherman Hemsley was able to endure well beyond the life of his TV show, "The Jeffersons." Hemsley has died. He was 74 and authorities say he died at his home in El Paso, Texas. His role as George Jefferson became an icon for upward mobility for blacks -- right down to the "Movin' On Up" theme of the CBS sitcom which ran from 1975 to 1985. After being neighbors with Archie Bunker in the New York borough of Queens, the Jeffersons "moved on up to the East Side" to their "dee-luxe" apartment in the sky -- and took with them a legion of black and white viewers who saw George battle with the world, while being loving and kind to his family, who often clashed with his views. Critics saw the genius in his work; Hemsley was nominated for both Emmys and Golden Globe Awards. He also continued to play the role in cameos long after "The Jeffersons" landed in the realm of rerun land. Hemsley appeared as George Jefferson on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and as recently as last year in Tyler Perry's "House of Payne."