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'The Jeffersons' Isabel Sanford & Her Husband Separated Soon After Their 3 Kids Were Born

Manuela Cardiga
May 27, 2019
08:59 A.M.

Isabel Sanford, who played Weezy on “The Jeffersons” had a difficult home life and raised her 3 children on her own.

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CBS's live tribute to their hit 70s sitcom “The Jeffersons” has made fans nostalgic for their favorite show, and the familiar faces of the original cast. One of the universal favorites was Isabel Sanford, who played Weezy (Louise Jefferson), George's long-suffering but devoted wife.

Mike Evans, Sherman Hemsley, and Isabel Sanford from "The Jeffersons" circa 1975 | Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mike Evans, Sherman Hemsley, and Isabel Sanford from "The Jeffersons" circa 1975 | Source: Wikimedia Commons

ISABEL SANFORD'S HOMELIFE WAS NOTHING LIKE WEEZIE'S

Isabel married young, and had three children in quick succession, after which her husband, William Edward “Sonny” Richmond, left her. She said:

“The children didn’t miss him much, and I just let it go at that. He was weak and I was an ambitious young woman."

Isabel Sanford on January 15, 2004 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Isabel Sanford on January 15, 2004 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

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Isabel won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1981

ISABEL SANFORD WORKED AT WELFARE OFFICE

The future TV star worked as a keypunch operator at a welfare office for $49 a week to support her family, and at night she acted in church groups as she pursued her passion for acting.

ISABEL SANFORD'S BIG BREAK

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In 1960 Isabel moved with her children from New York to California, and got her break into showbiz when legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead asked her to join the national production of "Here Today."

Isabel landed the role of Louise Jefferson in "All in the family," and she and her screen husband were so popular that the network launched a spin-off - "The Jeffersons."

SUCCESS AND "THE JEFFERSONS"

The highly acclaimed series would win Isabel a five Golden Globe Award nominations and seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

Isabel won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1981, the first African American actress to win in that category.

Isabel Sanford and Sherman Hemsley on March 7, 2004 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Isabel Sanford and Sherman Hemsley on March 7, 2004 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

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Isabel Sanford passed away on July 9, 2004, at the age of 87, while recovering from neck surgery. She was a trail-blazer and an inspiration for thousands of young actresses by never giving up on her dreams.

ISABEL SANFORD'S "JEFFERSONS"-INSPIRED BUSINESS

Isabel Sanford wasn't just an actress, she was a canny businesswoman. When the sitcom she starred in "The Jeffersons" became a hit, Isabel capitalized on her success by opening a business.

She opened a dry-cleaning business - just like George and Weezy - and named it: "Weezy’s Dry Cleaning.” The business was run by her son, Sanford K. Sanford, while Isabel continued pursuing her acting career. By all accounts, "Weezy's" was a success and earned the Sanford family a good living.

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