Sherman Hensley best known as George Jefferson on television’s hit sitcom The Jeffersons has died at the age of 74.  He leaves behind no wife or children (or known husband or partner).

I mentioned that last part because in his life and also in death; it is speculated that Mr. Hemsley was homosexual.  VH1 had him listed as a top black gay actor on its lists in 2007 which was never rebuffed by Hemsley.

Growing up, George Jefferson, James Evans of Good Times and Fred G. Sanford of Sanford & Son were my TV fathers. James Evans was strong, hard working man and wore the hell out of them tight pants. Fred Sanford was an entrepreneur who had a home business, but George was different.  

George Jefferson was not just an entrepreneur but he was a successful and wealthy black businessman which was unheard of on television at that time.  George started and operated his own franchise.  He spoke his mind, commanded respect and authority.  Just remembering his “strut” and mannerisms let you know that being successful and black could still be cool and soulful.



George Jefferson inspired so many black men in the community, my business owner step father included.

There was no other show out there that showed you weekly in its opening credit’s a black man stepping on a white man (Mr Bently). 

This was after the network and the writers of All in the Family allowing George Jefferson to call Archie Bunker a “honky”.  The symbolism of a strong successful black man was prominent.


Two points about his character and real life for me are very relevant for today’s black homosexual or bisexual males.

First Point – The character of George Jefferson, didn’t just complain and spend wasted amounts of time and energy about not being able to be included at “their” table.  He gave them the middle finger and started his own “table”. (wink to the gay mainstream concerning the Boy Scouts and Chick -fil-A)

Second Point – If Mr. Hemsley was homosexual or bisexual in real life; he was the epitome of the “Discreet Masculine Black Male”.  Even in death only his perceived sexual partners know his sexual business, gay or straight. He is an example of living happily discreet and not having to wear your sexuality on your sleeve. (unlike Wilt Chamberlain who slept with “thousands” of women but had no kids…really? Yeah I think he was at least bisexual)


I wish television and movie script writers today had the courage of the writers of The Jeffersons to include this type of character on the small and big screens. 

Right now it seems the writers who has given us the black male homosexuals of the LA Complex are the only ones who are writing something for television that is the closest to reality that we can see.

R.I.P. Sherman Hemsley

You Finally Got a Piece of the Pie and you will be surely missed!