Fast Facts

  • Served in the U.S. Air Force, then worked for the post office for eight years.
  • After moving to New York, studied acting with director Lloyd Richards at the celebrated Negro Ensemble Company.
  • Made his Broadway debut playing Gitlow in the musical Purlie (1970).
  • Hosted Saturday Night Live in 1976.
  • Released an R&B album in 1992 titled Dance. 
  • Appeared in a series of ads for Denny's and Old Navy with Isabel Sanford, his costar on The Jeffersons.


  • 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1985, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee


  • Attended Philadelphia Academy of Dramatic Arts, Philadelphia, PA


  • Birth Name: Sherman Alexander Hemsley
  • Birth Place: Philadelphia, PA
  • Died: July 24, 2012
  • Profession: Actor

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