A postal worker by day, Sherman Hemsley studied acting at night until eventually landing the chance to show off his talents on the Broadway stage. Producer Norman Lear caught one of his performances and immediately tapped him to play the irascible George Jefferson on "All in the Family" (CBS, 1971-79) and "The Jeffersons" (CBS, 1975-1985). Hemsley's high-voltage, sometimes controversial performance, which earned him several award nominations, was popular with television audiences, but it also left him irrevocably typecast; he essentially played close variations on the grouchy, racist Jefferson in his subsequent series, "Amen" (NBC, 1986-1991) and "Goode Behavior" (UPN, 1996-97), as well as countless TV guest spots. By the late-1990s, he was making regular appearances in commercials and promotions with his former "Jeffersons" TV wife Isabel Sanford, as well as in a play based on the series. But despite never veering too far from the irascible George Jefferson persona, there was no denying his impact as a man who broke boundaries as an African-American character who was "movin' on up" in a white man's world, as well as an off-screen African-American actor who conquered the white man's medium of 1970s sitcoms like no other.