Sherman Hemsley who played the arrogant, opinionated and succesful African-American businessman on the 1970s-80s sitcom, "The Jeffersons," died on Tuesday at his home in El Paso, Texas. He was 74. His body was discovered by an assistant who initially thought he was sleeping. But it was later determined that Hemsley died of natural causes, according to a police report.
Hemsley, who never married and had no children, got his big break in TV after being noticed by producer Norman Lear while acting in the Broadway hit, "Purlie." Hemsley also had a talent or singing and dancing and was eventually introduced to the cast of All in the Family, where he played the outspoken neighbor of bigot Archie Bunker.
His role in that show led to the creation of "The Jeffersons," one of several breakout sitcoms at the time that featured a largely African-American cast. His wife "Weezie" was played by the late Isabelle Sanford.