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'The Jeffersons' sitcom star Sherman Hemsley passes

EL PASO, Texas--Sherman Hemsley, the actor who made the irascible, bigoted George Jefferson of “The Jeffersons” one of television's most memorable characters and a symbol for urban upward mobility, has died. He was 74.

Police in El Paso, Texas, said late Tuesday that Hemsley was found dead at a local home where neighbors said he'd lived for years. A statement from police said no foul play is suspected and that the exact cause of death is pending.

The Philadelphia-born Hemsley first played the blustering black Harlem businessman on CBS's “All in the Family” before he was spun off onto “The Jeffersons,” which in 11 seasons from 1975 to 1985 became one of TV's most successful comedies — particularly noteworthy with its mostly black cast.

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