‘The Jeffersons’: Isabel Sanford Wasn’t Initially Impressed By Sherman Hemsley

The Jeffersons was a tv show that ran for 11 seasons, and after all of those years, the cast came to have very close relationships. After all, working in such close quarters for hours on end is a great way for anyone to form friendships, and that is exactly what the actors and actresses on one of our favorite shows of all time did.

Isabel Sanford, who portrayed Louise “Weezy” Jefferson, and Sherman Hemsley, the actor who portrayed the iconic George Jefferson, were definitely good friends off-camera. When they were on-screen, they had a chemistry that no one could deny, making them the perfect actors to play the titular couple of the ever-popular sitcom.

Sanford and Hemsley worked so well together that just about no one could imagine anyone else in the roles of George and Louise Jefferson. However, it wasn’t actually all that good in the beginning. Apparently, Isabel Sanford just wasn’t initially impressed by her co-star, Sherman Hemsley.

What is ‘The Jeffersons’ about?

Isabel Sanford as Louise Jefferson with her on-air husband, Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson, from the CBS situation comedy, THE JEFFERSONS.
Isabel Sanford as Louise Jefferson with her on-air husband, Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson on The Jeffersons. | CBS Photo Archive

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Millions of fans have been enjoying reruns of The Jeffersons ever since the mid-1980s, but for those who haven’t seen it, what is the show all about? Well, George, an owner of a chain of dry-cleaning stores, lives in Queens, New York, with his wife, stay at home mom, Louise, and their son, Lionel.

They are a relatable group, neighbors to the Bunkers, the characters of All in the Family, of which the show was a spin-off. According to TV Guide, George is a hardworking husband and father.

Although he has somewhat of a cocky personality, his efforts eventually pay off when he is able to move his family into a high-rise, exclusive building in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There, they live a pretty lavish life, have great friends, and continue to prosper in the dry-cleaning business.

George and Louise Jefferson became extremely popular

There are so many couples in television sitcoms, but George and Louise Jefferson became one of the most popular in recent history. Was it because they were a typical couple who valued relationships with family and friends, or because they reminded us so much of ourselves with their beliefs and strong work ethic?

It may be a little bit of both, and according to MeTV, George and Louise were two of the most well-loved actors on television.

Over the years, their popularity soared, with millions of people tuning in each week to see what the Jefferson family and their friends were up to. In fact, the couple became so well-loved that they continued to work together as a couple in television and on commercials long after The Jeffersons came to an end.

Isabel Sanford wasn’t initially impressed by Sherman Hemsley

They got along so well and played the role of husband and wife perfectly, which is why it comes as such a huge surprise that Sanford wasn’t impressed with Hemsley at first. MentalFloss reports that Sanford had already landed the role of Louise when she was one day told that there was an actor who was meeting with the director, as was asked to show him to the office.

When she saw Hemsley, who was small at only 135 pounds, she thought that she could “squash him like a bug” and that they couldn’t possibly play a married couple. Even so, Hemsley won the role of George Jefferson, and no one ever looked back.

The two actors worked great with each other, proving that Sanford’s initial impression of Hemsley was quite wrong. It is wonderful that everything worked out for the best, and that the actors were able to create such a memorable show.