Show Background

"The Jeffersons," if you didn't know already, was, and is, an extremely popular TV show from the 70s and 80s about a black family making it to the top in New York City. Sherman Hemsley, who played George Jefferson, was a successful dry-cleaner, with seven stores. He and his wife Louise, whom he called Weezy, played by Isabel Sanford, started out with nothing, living with George's mother, played by Zara Cully. Louise was working as a maid, and George worked off and on, whenever he could. After hearing about starting his own business, George, despite doubts by his family, opened Jefferson Cleaners. They moved to a house in Queens, neighbors to the Bunkers. The Jeffersons were seen often on "All in the Family" from 1972-1975. As he became more successful, they moved, with their son Lionel, played by Mike Evans, into the famous "dee-luxe apartment in the sky," 12D. After a few episodes, George decided they needed a maid, despite Louise's strong objection. Florence was then hired, played by Marla Gibbs. She was originally a supporting role, but became a regular as the show progressed, and her wise-cracking humor made the show that much better. Everyone remembers Mr. Bentley, played by Paul Benedict, the funny Englishman who always brought a different sense of life to the show. He left the show around 1980 to go to Russia, and returned in 1983, with a Welcome Back Mr. Bentley episode. The best friends of the Jeffersons were the Willises, an interracial couple from 14F. Helen Willis, played by Roxie Roker, was best friends with Louise, while Tom Willis, played by Franklin Cover, was friends with George. Their daughter, Jenny, played by Berlinda Tolbert, married Lionel later in the show, and had a child, Jessica. We all remember the small characters that appeared from time to time, such as Ralph the Doorman, played by Ned Wertimer, Charlie from Charlie's Bar, played by Danny Wells, and the many other small and cameo appearances by characters such as Jessica Jefferson (Ebonie Smith), George and Louise's granddaughter, and Marcus Garvey, one of George's employees. Aside from the regular, hilarious episodes, there were a number of two-part episodes that you couldn't wait to see the end of. Such as the episode where George is mugged and stabbed, the episode where Lionel and Jenny almost divorce, and the one where Louise witnesses a murder on Halloween and is then cornered by the murderer! Other memorable episodes were the Martin Luther King Assasination Episode from 1980, the Mystery Cruise Ship Episode from 1982, and all of the Christmas episodes. There were funny episodes, light episodes, and ones that almost made you cry. After the show aired it's last episode on July 21st, 1985, ending at 8:30 PM, EST, the story ended. But, the legacy still lives on. "The Jeffersons" wasn't just a comedy. It was, and is, a show that taught America that if the tried, they could achieve anything. I've seen over 200 episodes, and I thoroughly enjoy each and every one. It doesn't even compare with any other show. So this page is to salute the best show to ever be on American television, The Jeffersons.

Other Show Information

The show began it's run in 1975, and spanned an amazing 10 years to 1985, extremely long for a situation comedy. The show is the 24th highest-rated show of all time! It was created by the team of Don Nicholl, Michael Ross, and Bernie West, who served as the show's producers until the early 80s, when Michael G. Moye, Ron Leavitt, and David W. Duclon took over as the show's principal producers. Norman Lear developed the show, as well as All in the Family, the show that first introduced The Jeffersons. T.A.T. Communications, Norman Lear's company, owned the show until 1982, when Embassy Television took ownership.


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