"I had no plan to act. I used to do it when I was a kid. As a teenager, I did theatre in New York, television when I was a kid. But music took my heart. And that's still the nucleus of my creative life. But I met (Precious director) Lee Daniels in a restaurant. He walked up to me and said he had been trying to reach me and that I should be acting and if I had even a drop of my mother's talent that I'd be OK." Rocker Lenny Kravitz on his decision to return to acting, following in the footsteps of his late mother, Roxie Roker, who starred in the popular U.S. sitcom, The Jeffersons.
The actor, who passed away at his home in El Paso, Texas from apparent natural causes, was most famous for his role as George Jefferson in sitcom All in the Family and he later starred in a spin-off series, The Jeffersons, which featured a predominantly black cast.
Several stars have taken to their Twitter.com accounts to remember Hemsley and praise his legendary character, with rocker Tom Morello declaring, "RIP the great George Jefferson. Thanks so much to comedic pioneer Sherman Hemsley for bringing a black family into my white hometown."
Kravitz, whose late mother Roxie Roker was Hemsley's co-star on The Jeffersons, writes, "Rest in peace Sherman Hemsley. You are legendary. Your contribution changed the fabric of American culture. Growing up watching you on set with my mom was monumental", while Denise Richards adds, "George Jefferson, RIP Sherman Hemsley a comedic genius...my thoughts are with his loved ones.."
Referencing the show's theme tune, Movin' On Up by Ja'net Dubois, Duhamel states, "RIP Sherman Hemsley. MovinOnUp to heaven now", while director Smith laments, "G'bye, Sherman Hemsley. Your George Jefferson was so beloved, it earned you your own successful sitcom! Huge bucket of win! Move on up, sir."
Actress Marlee Matlin tells her Twitter followers, "Sad to read about passing of Sherman Hemsley, aka George Jefferson. RIP. Always very sweet to me", and Omar Epps adds, "RIP Sherman Hensley! Thank you for your art & making me laugh throughout my childhood!"
Seth Green, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Russell Simmons, Jesse Williams, Alyssa Milano and Holly Robinson Peete also paid their respects to Hemsley on the microblogging site.
Top Story: Celebs Roast MTV's Carson Daly
Madonna, Britney Spears, Nelly, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Adam Carolla are just some of the celebs who took part in Saturday night's inaugural MTV Bash, the comedy roast of the network's Carson Daly. But it seems some of the jokes had more sting than humor. According to The Hollywood Reporter, host Jeff Ross took advantage of the show's commercial breaks to apologize to Nicky Hilton for saying that it's ironic "two sluts are named after a cheap hotel." Sarah Silverman was also spotted hugging Jennifer Love Hewitt an advertising break after blurting out that the actress really can't sing. But it was Daly that had the most wounds to lick, with celebrity friends taking jabs at everything from his relationships with actresses Hewitt and Tara Reid. "I thought I was a nice guy, but I've come to realize I'm just a big douchebag," the newly roasted Daly said. "Thank you so much for being here, let's do it next year ... to somebody else." The event will be broadcast on MTV July 13.
Putin Welcomes Seagal to Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed action star Steven Seagal to his country residence outside Moscow, The Associated Press reports. Seagal, along with Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida and France's Fanny Ardant were in Moscow for the Moscow International Film Festival, which ends Sunday. Putin, a staunch Judo enthusiast, thanked the stars on behalf of Russian fans for taking part in the festival and said he hoped they would return despite this year's relatively cool Moscow summer.
Scott Foley Returns to Scrubs
Actor Scott Foley, who recently starred in the now defunct NBC comedy A.U.S.A., is set to reprise his role on the network's Scrubs, Reuters reports. Foley appeared on the hit medical sitcom in its freshman season as an insecure patient who developed a crush on his doctor, Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke). Foley will guest star in six episodes this fall, beginning with the show's season premiere.
ABC Pulls Plug on Port Charles
ABC is canceling its daytime soap opera Port Charles as of Oct. 3. Reuters reports that although the show performed adequately in the ratings, it has been hampered by erratic scheduling on ABC affiliate stations because of its half-hour format. Port Charles, a spin-off of the network's long-running General Hospital, debuted in June 1997. ABC Daytime president Brian Frons said the network expects to place actors and crew throughout other ABC Daytime shows.
DMX Arrested in St. Kitts
Rapper DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was arrested in Basseterre, St. Kitts, in the Caribbean Saturday for using profanity during a concert the night before, the AP reports. DMX was released on bail of $376 and left the island on Saturday afternoon, but pledged to return for his court date Monday. Organizers for St. Kitts' annual music festival said they warned DMX not to use obscenities on stage and added that the rapper signed a contract not to use indecent language on stage. DMX, however, said he never signed such a contract and would not have performed had he been forced to censor his language.
Lenny Kravitz Forms Record Label
Singer Lenny Kravitz, who remains signed to Virgin Records as a recording artist and will release a new studio album, has formed a company called Roxie Records whose distribution will go through Warner Bros. According to Billboard.com, the first signees include vocalist Dan Dyer, who is at work with engineer Matt Knobel on his debut album. Knobel worked behind the scenes on Kravitz's 2002 album, Lenny. The newly formed label is named for his late mother, actress Roxie Roker.
Clear Channel Launches Music Mag
Radio and concert giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. is launching an ad-sponsored magazine for the summer concert season. According to Reuters, Music Guide Live!, which will feature stories on recording artists, music news, touring schedules and other local information, will make its debut over the weekend at a few concerts and ultimately be distributed in more than 30 markets during the summer at Clear Channel radio station events. The company has also discussed the possibility of eventually distributing the publication through music retailers.
Role Call: Zwick Helms Fat Albert, Dangerfield Goes Back to School
My Big Fat Greek Wedding director Joel Zwick is in talks to take the helm of the live-action feature Fat Albert for 20th Century Fox. The project is based on Bill Cosby's famed '70s CBS cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. The original draft of the screenplay was written by Charles Kipps and Cosby, who will also serve as the film's producer ... Comedian Rodney Dangerfield will remake the 1986 hit comedy Back to School for MGM. Dangerfield, who retained some rights to the movie when MGM bought the film library the original distributor, Orion Pictures, will not reprise his starring role in the comedy.