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Sherman Hemsley Talked out about His Greatest Career Achievement 9 Years before His Death

Olawale Ogunjimi
May 18, 2020
12:00 A.M.
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Iconic actor Sherman Hemsley, famous for his starring role as George Jefferson on the CBS television series, "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," died in 2012, but spoke about his most significant career achievement years before his death.

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Sherman, in a recorded interview, said that his greatest career achievement was making it to fame because it was a hard thing to do for someone who came from where he did. He said:

"Just following my dream and not giving up and trusting in myself and not being swayed."

Actor Sherman Hemsley attending the MTV Networks Upfront 2003 presentation to advertisers in New York City. I Photo: Getty Images.

Actor Sherman Hemsley attending the MTV Networks Upfront 2003 presentation to advertisers in New York City. I Photo: Getty Images.

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The actor narrated how he had gone to the limits of what he could do at the local theatre, so when he went to New York and had the chance to become famous around the world, it was a whole new level. He also said of the experience:

"I felt grownup. I was 29 years old, but I just felt independent… that's the New York Feeling… If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere… I still love New York for that reason…"

Actor Sherman Hemsley arrives at the LG's Mobile TV Party held at Paramount Studios on June 19, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

Actor Sherman Hemsley arrives at the LG's Mobile TV Party held at Paramount Studios on June 19, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

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Sherman Hemsley died at the age of 74 on July 24, 2012. Reports from police said that he passed away at his home in El Paso, Texas, bringing an end to his glorious career.

Hemsley broke into television in 1973 with his appearance in "All in the Family," which earned him the chance to also star in the show's spinoff, "The Jeffersons."

Isabel Sanford as Louise Jefferson with her on-air husband, Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson, from the CBS situation comedy, "The Jeffersons." I Photo: Getty Images

Isabel Sanford as Louise Jefferson with her on-air husband, Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson, from the CBS situation comedy, "The Jeffersons." I Photo: Getty Images

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"The Jeffersons" broke many barriers as a show, being the first primetime television show to have an upscale African-American couple, and casting the first interracial couple on a major television sitcom.

Sherman created the will six weeks before his death, and in it, he left all of his dealings to his former business manager and close friend, Flora Enchinton.

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The actor went on to star in so many other sitcoms and television shows such as "Family Matters," "Martin," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and Tyler Perry's "House of Payne." Despite his fame, he never married nor had kids.

Authorities later revealed the cause of the actor's death. A statement from the coroner's office in El Paso, Texas, reported that Sherman died from a complication of lung cancer.

Isabel Sanford and Actor Sherman Hemsley on stage at the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium, March 7, 2004 in Hollywood, California. I Photo: Getty Images

Isabel Sanford and Actor Sherman Hemsley on stage at the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium, March 7, 2004 in Hollywood, California. I Photo: Getty Images

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The condition, known as Superior Vena Cava Syndrome, is caused by an obstruction that leads to the blockage or narrowing of the second vein in the body.

Following his death, it took three months for Sherman's body to finally get laid to rest. This was because of the court case that ensued after a man claiming to be his half-brother surfaced, challenging the validity of the late actor's Will.

Actor Sherman Helmsley speaks at the MTV Networks Upfront 2003 presentation to advertisers at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden on May 6, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

Actor Sherman Helmsley speaks at the MTV Networks Upfront 2003 presentation to advertisers at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden on May 6, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

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Sherman created the Will six weeks before his death, and in it, he left all of his dealings to his former business manager and close friend, Flora Enchinton, since he had no family members alive.

DNA tests showed that the man claiming to be Sherman's half-brother, Richard Thornton, was actually his relative. Still, an El Paso judge ruled in favor of Enchinton, finding the will valid since the deceased was mentally alert and competent when signing it.

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