Sherman Hemsley inducted into TV Hall of Fame

Sherman HemsleySherman Hemsley has been added to the The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame. The 21st annual induction ceremony is set for March 1, 2012 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The actor, along with 8 other inductees are recognized for their extraordinary contributions to tv.

Hemsley is most famous for his acting role as George Jefferson on the iconic CBS television series All in the Family, and on the spinoff series The Jeffersons. While performing in Purlie on Broadway in 1971, Hemsley received a call from Norman Lear, who wanted to cast him as George Jefferson in All in the Family. Lear held the role open for him, and two years later he finally joined the cast. All in the Family broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, homosexuality, rape, miscarriage, abortion, and cancer. The show was ranked number one in the yearly Nielsen ratings from 1971 to 1976. It became the first television series to reach the milestone of having topped the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive years, a mark later matched by The Cosby Show and surpassed by American Idol. Lear then created the spinoff series for Hemsley and co-star Isabel Sanford, and The Jeffersons went on to enjoy an 11 year run through 1985, the longest-running sitcom with a predominantly African American cast in the history of American television. Hemsley won an Emmy Award in 1984 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as George Jefferson. In 1986, Hemsley was cast as Ernest Frye in the NBC series Amen, and in 1991, joined the voice cast for the ABC comedic live-action puppet series Dinosaurs, playing the role of sadistic dinosaur boss Bradley P. Richfield.