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.