'Jeffersons' Star Sherman Hemsley Dies at 74

(CBS /Landov)

Sherman Hemsley, the actor best known for playing George Jefferson on "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," has died, his publicist confirmed to ABCNews.com. He was 74.

His cause of death was not immediately known.

Hemsley acted on stage before going to the screen, making his Broadway debut as Gitlow in "Purlie." He first found sitcom stardom in "All in the Family," playing Archie Bunker's African-American neighbor.

In 1975, Hemsley and his "All in the Family" co-star Isabel Sanford were given their own spin-off, "The Jeffersons." The hit show earned Hemsley Emmy and Golden Globe nominations in 1984 and 1985, respectively.

From 1986 to 1991, Hemsley played Deacon Ernest Frye on the TV series, "Amen."

Hemsley and Sanford reunited multiple times in the '90s and '00s to reprise their roles as George and Louise "Weezy" Jefferson, appearing on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and in commercials.

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