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May 18, 2020

Isabel Sanford Didn't Know 'The Jeffersons' Was Canceled until Her Cousin Called Her

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Isabel Sanford shot into the limelight with her career-defining role as Louise "Weezy" Jefferson in the popular sitcom "The Jeffersons." The show was canceled in 1985, and Isabel claimed that she learned about it in the tabloids.

Legendary actress Isabel Sanford was born on August 29, 1917, in New York. She passed away at the age of 86 on July 9, 2004, after falling ill at her LA home.

The actress had previously undergone neck surgery and was taken to the hospital after she became ill. Still, she died, with her daughter, Pamela Ruff, keeping watch by her bedside. 

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Isabel Sanford left behind a trail of laughter and great achievements. The talented actress is best known for playing the character "Weezy" in the ABC sitcom "The Jeffersons" from 1975 to 1985. 

The massively popular sitcom was canceled in 1985. During an old interview with Archive of American Television, Sanford revealed that she learned about the cancelation through the tabloids. In her words:

"...my cousin in New York is the one that called me and said 'I understand that "Jeffersons" has been canceled...it's in the tabloids'"

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Sanford added that she was most upset with the network, claiming that they could have at least called them so they could have a closing show like other sitcoms at the time.

Before making her debut in Hollywood, Sanford was previously a stage actress for nearly three decades, in New York. In 1967, She got her first role in television, playing the character Tillie in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."

Isabel was the only child of her parents' seven children to survive infancy. 

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Her role as "Tillie" paved the way for her most significant role — starring in "The Jeffersons," — which made her become the first African-American actress to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. 

In January 2004, Sanford was recognized with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. While receiving the star, the excited actress said:

"Here with stars in my eyes — something that I dreamed about when I was 9 years old..."

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Despite her Emmy win being the only award earned by any of the "Jeffersons" cast in its decade-long run on television, the actress' career slowed down, as she only occasionally got TV or movie roles after the show was canceled. 

The late TV star later turned down the opportunity to do a reunion of "The Jeffersons," because she wasn't happy with the way the show ended.

Sanford's rise to the top was a story of sheer doggedness and perseverance, which is highlighted by the fact that she was the only child of her parents' seven children to survive infancy. 

The iconic actress once described herself as a survivor, and true to her words, she continues to live in the hearts of millions of her fans. 

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