‘The Jeffersons’ Stars Isabel Sanford and Sherman Hemsley Had Adorable Nicknames For Each Other

The Jeffersons was one of the most popular shows of its time — we can’t deny it. The catchy theme song is one that everyone knows, and most fans looked forward to George Jefferson’s snarky comments and off the wall attitude in every episode.

Premiering in January 1975, the show was a spinoff of another well-known sitcom, All in the Family. It quickly became a fan favorite, featuring a family in which the dad owned a dry cleaning chain, and the mom stayed at home to look after their son, Lionel.

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

After years of hard work, the family moves into the luxurious Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, living a life that most of us would surely envy. The wisecracking humor is what kept fans coming back week after week for more, and the actors and actresses nailed their parts in a way that no one else could.

As it turns out, the stars of the show Isabel Sanford and Sherman Hemsley actually had adorable nicknames for each other.

The premise of ‘The Jeffersons’

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You’d be pretty hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least seen one or two reruns of The Jeffersons, but just in case, let’s talk about the premise of the show.

George Jefferson, the family patriarch, got money in a car accident settlement, allowing him to start a dry-cleaning store, which grew from there. He, his wife Louise (whom he adorably referred to as “Weezy”), and their son Lionel, lived in the borough of Queens in New York City before finally moving to Manhattan’s swanky Upper East Side, where they score a luxury apartment in an exclusive high-rise building.

According to The Atlantic, the show starred Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford and isn’t likely to be forgotten anytime soon. Fans absolutely loved tuning in each week to see George and his smug personality, as the family enjoyed the deluxe high life in New York City.

Who were the stars of the show?

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Although Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford portrayed the titular characters in The Jeffersons, they certainly weren’t the only two stars of the show that we look back on with such fondness. We also saw Marla Gibbs as she played the snarky housekeeper, Florence Johnston, and TV Guide reports that there are others as well.

Roxie Roker was Louise’s best friend and confidante, but not very well-liked by George. Tom, her husband was played by Franklin Cover, and their interracial relationship was the source of many of George’s jokes. Other stars were Zara Cully, who played George’s mother, Paul Benedict, who played the role of Mr. Bentley, the Jefferson’s hysterical neighbor, and Mike and Damon Evans, the two actors who portrayed Lionel on the show.

The Jeffersons also saw many guest stars over the years, such as Phyllis Diller, Sammy Davis, Jr., and more.

‘The Jeffersons’ stars Isabel Sanford and Sherman Hemsley had adorable nicknames for each other

The show ran for a whopping 11 seasons, so it is really no surprise that the actors and actresses grew close. In fact, Hemsley and Sanford, the two main stars had cute nicknames that they called each other, and many fans might not have been aware of this until now.

So, what were they? According to Mental Floss, Sanford came across in an extremely elegant way, earning herself the nickname of “The Queen.”

As for her on-screen husband? He was known as “Neck,” which might at first seem confusing, but there was actually a wonderful reason behind it. Hemsley is small, only 135 pounds, and not very tall at all. Sanford felt that he was “all neck”, and gave him the endearing nickname as a result.